Adriano Duatti is Professor of General and Inorganic Chemistry at the Department of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Ferrara, Italy and Associate Professor of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN). He is Head of the Advanced Master Course in ‘Science and Technology of Radiopharmaceuticals’ of the University of Ferrara. He is also Senior Member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria.
His main research interests are in the fields of Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry and were focused on the development of diagnostic radiotracers for functional and molecular imaging and of radiopharmaceuticals containing -emitting radioisotopes for radionuclide therapy.
He was author and co-author of more than 150 scientific articles on international journals, 30 book chapters, and more than 300 communications and invited lectures at international meetings. He was co-inventor of about 50 patents in the field of radiopharmaceutical chemistry, radiopharmaceuticals and nuclear imaging.
Progress in in the use of radioisotopes in medicine for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes has been always tightly connected with the availability of novel radionuclides exhibiting unprecedented nuclear and biological properties. In turn, this is linked to the development of efficient production methods capable of ensure a widespread and reliable supply of the medical radioisotope of interest. Recently, cyclotrons have emerged as key tools for the production of a new generation of medical radionuclides that were not possible previously to obtain through other routes. This equipment can accelerate protons, deuteron or alpha particles at variable energies (10−70 MeV) and beam currents (20−800 μA), which allow production of a variety of radionuclides such as positron-emitters (i.e., fluorine-18, carbon-11, zirconium-89, copper-64), but also beta-emitters (i.e., copper-67, rhenium-186, scandium-47). Interestingly, it has been recently demonstrated that technetium-99m, the most widely used diagnostic radionuclide, can be efficiently obtained by cyclotrons, thus offering an alternative route to conventional production methods based on uranium fission. In this short review, summarizing the production and applications of relevant medical radionuclides, current advances and approaches to the solution of still open clinical problems is presented with emphasis to the potential role of radiolabeled compounds in establishing a genuine molecular medicine paradigm.