Addressing the Need for Trained Radiochemists – DOE Integrated Radiochemistry Research Projects of Excellence


There is a national need for highly trained radiochemists to advance imaging science and its applications, both medical and nonmedical. DOE (BER) is addressing this need by funding graduate and post-graduate research trainees at six Integrated Radiochemistry Research Projects of Excellence. One project, the Integrated Manhattan Project for Excellence in Radiochemistry at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, has just developed new radiochemistry methodologies using the positron-emitting radionuclide of zirconium-89 (89Zr). Postdoctoral trainee Jason P. Holland is working with Principal Investigator Jason S. Lewis to study the use of the 89Zr-radiolabeled antibody protein Trastuzumab (Herceptin) as a radiotracer. Holland’s project has imaged the distribution of a mutated protein, human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2), that promotes the growth of breast cancer cells. These results demonstrate that their new radiochemistry methodology shows excellent potential for producing new radiotracers for the specific non-invasive delineation of HER2/neu positive breast tumors using positron emission tomography (PET). Their study has just been published in PLoS ONE.


Holland JP, Caldos-Lopes E, Divilov V, Longo VA, Taldone T, Zatorska D, Chiosis G, Lewis JS. “Measuring the pharmacodynamic effects of a novel Hsp90 inhibitor on HER2/neu expression in mice using 89Zr-DFO-trastuzumab,” PLoS One, January 25th, 2010, DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0008859.

National Academies of Science Committee report, “Advancing Nuclear Medicine Through Innovation,” published in September 2007.