The future of nuclear medicine lies in the possibility of repetitive tissue characterisation and quantification, which simplifies therapy decisions and improves both individual risk stratification and therapy monitoring. By selecting suitable biomarkers, nuclear medicine methods are seen as paradigmatic for modern applications of theranostics, as the same pharmaceutical can be used here for diagnostics and therapy, by replacing a gamma or positron emitter with an alpha or beta emitter. Examples of this would be 99mTc and 131I for thyroid gland diagnostics and therapy, 68Ga / 177Lu-DOTATATE for somatostatin receptor diagnostics and therapy as well as 68Ga / 177Lu-PSMA for diagnostics and therapy of the metastasized prostate cancer.
The customised molecular imaging and therapy of oncological, cardiovascular and neuropsychiatric illnesses are the central research topic of nuclear medicine at the Medical University of Vienna, focussing on immunological and inflammatory processes in particular. The entire science structure has been adapted to this goal and subdivided into research areas which are very well organised in an interdisciplinary and translational way and covers the entire spectrum of biomarker development up to clinical application.
The radiochemistry and biomarker development working group in close cooperation with the clinical working groups is concerned with the identification of target structures and the development of new radiopharmaceuticals. In the area of experimental nuclear medicine and radiopharmacy the focus is on the application of these substances in cell culture, tissue section and small animals. In particular aspects of the specific bonding of radiopharmaceuticals to corresponding target structures, the quantification of metabolites and the system biological considerations is at the forefront here. In close cooperation with the university hospital for clinical pharmacology, another working group is concerned with translational PET imaging and pharmacokinetic modelling, and therefore with absolute quantification and reproducibility of in-vivo acquired radionuclide signals, in connection with the development and application of new drugs.
All these fundamental research applications are strongly translationally oriented, therefore in addition to the clarification of mechanistic connections are based upon the visualisation and quantification of possible target structures for modern antibodies and biological treatments as well as radionuclide therapies, which are a focal point in the area of clinical research. Here the focus is on earlier clinical and "first-in-man" studies in particular.
The area of physics and information technology concentrates strongly on the "read-out" and the processing, the "post-processing" of image and measuring data, in terms of its research activities. The voxel-based multi-parametric and multimodal quantification of dynamic SPECT and PET data are at the forefront here. The aim is to establish the specific signal of radiopharmaceuticals by means of association studies with tissue and blood markers as a self-learning system, thus aiding precision in the prognosis or the post-observation of the treatment responses.