During the last several years, a molecular Imaging Center has been established at USC with support over the last year from multiple awards from the NCRR and other NIH Institutes. Support from these agencies has been used to purchase several miniaturized versions of x-ray, optical, ultrasound and radio nuclear scanners for studies in small laboratory animals, as well as hot cells for radio synthesis of imaging agents for pre-clinical and clinical PET studies, and a human use 3T MRI. A central component of the molecular imaging effort has been the availability of a medical cyclotron for production of positron-emitting isotopes. Unfortunately, because of its age (nearly 20 years), the existing cyclotron can no longer service the needs of our ever-expanding network of investigators at USC and in the surrounding community. This proposal requests funding for a replacement cyclotron on the USC Health Sciences Campus. The requested device will be housed and operated in the Radiochemistry Facility of the Molecular Imaging Center, where it will complement other shared-use devices. The instrument chosen has numerous features conducive to efficient operation, including, ability to reliably produce PET radioisotopes in sufficient quantity and specific activity for use in basic radiochemistry research as well as for pre-clinical and investigative clinical imaging studies with current and future radiopharmaceuticals;is operator friendly;maximizes radiation safety of operators;is environmentally friendly with minimal radioactivity release and efficient use of utilities;has a robust, programmable and upgradable operating system with off-site monitoring and diagnostics capability;has minimal downtime;and comes with a strong service and parts support system. In addition, manufacturing of the primary systems components, assembly of device and service contract work are all provided for within the US, maximizing the impact of the purchase on US job creation and security. Investigators representing multiple disciplines including medicine, chemistry, pharmacology, and engineering, will use the requested cyclotron. Addition of the requested instrument will increase the productivity of assembled PHS-funded investigators from USC, Caltech and City of Hope who are working in these areas. The discoveries and advancements made by these investigators will ultimately have a direct positive impact on the local community as well as public health in general.
The Cyclotron and Radiochemistry Laboratory, along with the complementary molecular imaging resources available at USC, are indispensable to the growth of a broad spectrum of research programs at USC. Replacement of the aging cyclotron will strengthen both ongoing work in oncology, neurosciences, chemistry, pharmacy and genetic medicine by researchers, as well as greatly enhancing the ability of this Core to support new research. This enhancement will allow our investigators to continue to conduct cutting-edge research that will be reflected in our future grant submissions and publications.