Development and Application of a Generic Platform for Radiolabelling Affinity Peptides & Proteins with PET Isotopes

  • Olivia Morris

Student thesis: Phd


Positron emission tomography (PET) is a quantitative and non-invasive investigative tool, which permits the identification of pivotal biomarkers and their role in disease onset, transformation and progression. Quantitative detection of these disease biomarkers has qualified PET as a pioneering approach to rapid diagnosis. The tool is a powerful approach to patient diagnosis and investigation of inter- and intra- patient disease heterogeneity thereby supporting patient stratification and forging a truly personalised medicine approach. The sensitivity of PET is complemented by use of highly selective radiopharmaceuticals; this has fuelled the popularity of radiolabelled affinity peptides and proteins (APPs). Inspired by the high selectivity and affinity of biological protein-protein interactions, APP-based radiotracers are an increasingly popular class of radiotracer. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are an important category of APP-based radiotracer; their prevalence in the field is attributed to their high target selectivity and affinity characteristics, which, will likely, uphold their popularity in the field. Yet, advancements in protein engineering has transformed the landscape of APP-based radiotracers, indicated by a preference for small radiolabelled APPs which exhibit rapid pharmacokinetics whilst retaining high target specificity and affinity. Their fast pharmacokinetics is matched by the half-life of 18F which has been defined as an ideal PET radionuclide. 18F APP radiolabelling hasn't yet met its full potential due to its inherent challenges; many approaches have been adopted, ranging from non-site specific radiolabelling with amine reactive prosthetic groups to site-specific methods including oxime bond formation. The radiochemistry of 18F APP radiolabelling is diverse and evolving; yet ideal goals are apparent including site-specificity, fast reaction kinetics, mild labelling conditions and applicability to automation. Automation is challenging for multi-step 18F APP radiolabelling methods, but is a key developmental step. Automation helps with conformance to good manufacturing practice (GMP) by enhancing process robustness, consistency and reliability. It also permits the radiosynthesis of clinically relevant radiotracer doses. The development of an automated generic platform, or a method that adopts a general approach, for APP radiolabelling with 18F would assist in [18F]APPs meeting their potential in PET and, importantly, aid their translation from bench-to-bedside.
Date of Award1 Aug 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorKaye Williams (Supervisor) & Adam McMahon (Supervisor)


  • PET
  • 18F prosthetic group
  • peptide radiolabelling

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