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Clinical and Translational Science Center

Clinical and Translational Science Center


Cooperative radiochemistry facility emerges

CONSTRUCTION BEGAN in early January for a new research, training and production facility that will vastly improve logistics for bench-to-bedside radiopharmaceutical conveyance. The facility is being built within the Institute for Regenerative Cures on Stockton Boulevard, adjoining the CTSC.

Julie Sutcliffe, Ph.D.

The project is being developed cooperatively by UC Davis Health System, PETNET Solutions Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Siemens Medical Solutions USA Inc.) and Northern California PET Imaging Center (NCPIC). The PETNET commercialization and distribution components are scheduled to begin operation by this summer. Julie L. Sutcliffe, a UC Davis associate professor of biomedical engineering and hematology and oncology, anticipates end-of-year completion of the training and research facilities, which she will direct.
“This project constitutes a perfect synergy between academia and industry,” Sutcliffe said. “The unique partnership with PETNET will function as a pipeline for commercialization of the concepts and compounds that UC Davis researchers develop. The CTSC will help expedite translations of those diagnostic and therapeutic radiopharmaceutical agents,” said Sutcliffe, who also is director of the cyclotron and radiochemistry facility at the UC Davis Center for Molecular and Genomic Imaging. “When I came to UC Davis nine years ago, I went from clinical to totally preclinical work, but my vision for the field then and always will be translation.”
The research component is aimed at developing specialized molecular agents for use not only in oncology, but also in neurology and cardiology. Sutcliffe emphasizes the importance of the training component to build a diverse, highly qualified nuclear science work force.

The new facility has not been officially named; project architects have informally labeled it the biomedical cyclotron research facility, while Sutcliffe and her colleagues have dubbed it R2@UC Davis (radiochemistry research and training at UC Davis). The facility’s location on the Sacramento campus is strategic because of the short radioactive half-life of PET radioisotopes, many of which are usable for only a few minutes to a few hours.