Batch-reactor microfluidic device: first human use of a microfluidically produced PET radiotracer

Artem Lebedev, Reza Miraghaie, Kishore Kotta, Carroll E Ball, Jianzhong Zhang, Monte S Buchsbaum, Hartmuth C Kolb, Arkadij Elizarov
Lab on a Chip 2013 January 7, 13 (1): 136-45
The very first microfluidic device used for the production of (18)F-labeled tracers for clinical research is reported along with the first human Positron Emission Tomography scan obtained with a microfluidically produced radiotracer. The system integrates all operations necessary for the transformation of [(18)F]fluoride in irradiated cyclotron target water to a dose of radiopharmaceutical suitable for use in clinical research. The key microfluidic technologies developed for the device are a fluoride concentration system and a microfluidic batch reactor assembly. Concentration of fluoride was achieved by means of absorption of the fluoride anion on a micro ion-exchange column (5 μL of resin) followed by release of the radioactivity with 45 μL of the release solution (95 ± 3% overall efficiency). The reactor assembly includes an injection-molded reactor chip and a transparent machined lid press-fitted together. The resulting 50 μL cavity has a unique shape designed to minimize losses of liquid during reactor filling and liquid evaporation. The cavity has 8 ports for gases and liquids, each equipped with a 2-way on-chip mechanical valve rated for pressure up to 20.68 bar (300 psi). The temperature is controlled by a thermoelectric heater capable of heating the reactor up to 180 °C from RT in 150 s. A camera captures live video of the processes in the reactor. HPLC-based purification and reformulation units are also integrated in the device. The system is based on "split-box architecture", with reagents loaded from outside of the radiation shielding. It can be installed either in a standard hot cell, or as a self-shielded unit. Along with a high level of integration and automation, split-box architecture allowed for multiple production runs without the user being exposed to radiation fields. The system was used to support clinical trials of [(18)F]fallypride, a neuroimaging radiopharmaceutical under IND Application #109,880.

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