The goal of this proposal is to secure funding to add a 64Cu targetry and handling system to a RDS 111 biomedical cyclotron to enable routine production of the radionuclide 64Cu for in vivo molecular imaging studies. The cyclotron and the proposed targetry system are housed in the Center for Molecular and Genomic Imaging, a preclinical core facility at UC Davis that provides the infrastructure and expertise to conduct in vivo imaging studies in animal models. 64Cu-labeled biomolecules, including 64Cu-PTSM (for perfusion and cell labeling), 64Cu-labeled peptides, 64Cu-labeled antibodies, 64Cu-labeled nanoparticles and 64Cu-labeled liposomes, are being used by a large group of NIH-funded faculty at UC Davis as the basis for the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic agents. Commercial sources for 64Cu only deliver once every 14 days, and large fractions of the activity are lost in transportation. Thus, NIH-funded research is limited by 64Cu availability. We propose the addition of a 64Cu target and target handling system that will enable routine production of 64Cu on our existing RDS 111 cyclotron, providing 64Cu on a regular basis for twelve NIH-funded researchers who utilize 64Cu in their research programs.
The field of molecular imaging seeks to discover new approaches to imaging specific biologic targets and pathways in vivo, with the ultimate goal of providing patient-specific and molecularly-based diagnostic information. In addition, molecular imaging approaches are being developed to directly monitor molecularly targeted therapies, cellular therapies and gene therapies. Positron emission tomography using radiolabeled tracers is a key platform technology for molecular imaging. The radionuclide copper-64 has a half-life compatible with the kinetics of many interesting biomolecules and is therefore an isotope with broad applications in the field. This proposal will enable routine production of copper-64 at UC Davis for application to research projects funded by NIH that involve the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic agents, and for tracking and visualization of stem and progenitor cell therapies.