JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Microfluidics in radiopharmaceutical chemistry

Giancarlo Pascali, Paul Watts, Piero A Salvadori
Nuclear Medicine and Biology 2013, 40 (6): 776-87
23684316
The increased demand for molecular imaging tracers useful in assessing and monitoring diseases has stimulated research towards more efficient and flexible radiosynthetic routes, including newer technologies. The traditional vessel-based approach suffers from limitations concerning flexibility, reagent mass needed, hardware requirements, large number of connections and valves, repetitive cleaning procedures and overall big footprint to be shielded from radiation. For these reasons, several research groups have started to investigate the application of the fast growing field of microfluidic chemistry to radiosynthetic procedures. After the first report in 2004, many scientific papers have been published and demonstrated the potential for increased process yields, reduced reagent use, improved flexibility and general ease of setup. This review will address definitions occurring in microfluidics as well as analyze the different approaches under two macro-categories: microvessel and microchannel. In this perspective, several works will be collected, involving the use of positron emitting species ((11)C, (18)F, (64)Cu) and the fewer examples of gamma emitting radionuclides ((99m)Tc, (125/131)I). New directions in microfluidic research applied to PET radiochemistry, future developments and challenges are also discussed.

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