• Vol. 33 No. 2, 146–154
  • 15 March 2004

PET Tracers and Radiochemistry



This paper provides a brief review of the radiochemistry of radiopharmaceuticals used in positron emission tomography (PET). It includes some history of PET, the basic formation of radionuclides in a cyclotron target, the processing of the precursor molecules into a useful PET radiotracer and the clinical significance and outlook for PET radiotracers. This review is based on a series of recent books and articles outlining the fundamental goals of PET and how radiochemistry plays a part in achieving these goals. It is also drawn from the literature that has been developed in PET over the last 30 years since PET became a research and valuable clinical tool. PET is a growing field and the clinical applications of the chemistry and technology have just begun to be explored. There is a great deal left to do in order to explore the full potential of PET in the clinic.

Positron emission tomography (PET) has become a powerful scientific and clinical tool for probing biochemical processes in the human body. This is due, in large part, to advances in instrumentation and synthetic chemistry.

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