For over a decade the chemical, biological and analytical sciences have exploited microfluidic technology for applications ranging from cell culture to DNA amplification and analysis. More recently, microfluidic technology has been applied to the rapid synthesis of radiolabelled compounds and radiopharmaceuticals used in positron emission tomography (PET). Interest in the application of microfluidics for high speed radiolabelling stems from the inherent advantages such miniaturised reaction environments have over conventional methods. This mini-review introduces, to the nonspecialist, the extensive area of microfluidics and some of the main challenges associated with radiolabelling procedures using short-lived positron emitting isotopes. It will include a discussion of the application of microfluidics for 18F radiolabelling reactions; an area that is relatively immature. The field of PET imaging is currently growing rapidly, with increasing demand for the production of existing PET tracers and the creation of new ones. It is widely expected that microfluidic technologies will make an important contribution to improving radiotracer synthesis for PET imaging.
Keywords: positron emission tomography (PET), radiolabel, carbon-11, fluorine-18, microfluidic, microreactor
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