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Department Overview

Radiopharmaceutical Sciences Institute


The RSI has developed into a nationally and international recognized center of excellence in the radiopharmaceutical sciences area as evidenced by the numerous peer-reviewed grants held by the individual RSI faculty. The In Vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center (ICMIC) grant awarded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is only one of eight awarded (the other seven recipients are Harvard, Sloan Kettering, UCLA, Johns Hopkins, Michigan, Washington University-St. Louis and Stanford). The close affiliation of the RSI with Harry S. Truman Memorial VA Hospital (HSTMVAH) and the MU Research Reactor (MURR) continues to play a major role in the success of the RSI. The majority of RSI faculty have been involved in innovative research activities for most of their careers. One of the major thrusts of the RSI research programs is development of novel radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic and therapeutic applications in humans.

As a result of their studies, more than 20 patents have been awarded/pending over the past twenty years. Three of these patents resulted in production of FDA approved radioactive drugs currently marketed in the US (Ceretec, Quadramet and TheraSpheres). Another example is a radiolabeled drug (Lu-177-AMBA), which is currently entering human clinical trials for treatment of prostate cancer, is based on a design of a radiolabeled peptide designed and developed by RSI faculty. New faculty has been recently added to the RSI, which expanded capabilities for offering enhanced educational and research opportunities for students and other trainees.

RSI faculty have joint appointments in various MU departments and the HSTMVAH, in addition to their home department to facilitate mentoring, co-mentoring graduate and undergraduate majors in the relevant department. These formal relationships have and will continue to enhance the interdisciplinary training of these students in the molecular imaging/therapy areas.

The mission of the RSI is to promote, facilitate and support a wide range of
Radiopharmaceutical Sciences research and educational programs.


University of Missouri Research Reactor

University Researchers

A distinguishing characteristic of the RSI is its long-standing interdisciplinary affiliation with MURR.

MURR has been and continues to provide specialized facilities, expertise and capabilities for RSI faculty and students. The development of radiopharmaceuticals that are currently FDA approved for routine use in patients and several promising new radiolabeled biomolecules being evaluated as cancer specific therapeutic agents resulted from strong collaboration efforts between the MURR radiochemistry faculty/scientists and RSI investigators. Over the past few years MURR has invested in expanding their infrastructure for producing clinical grade radiopharmaceuticals for which includes more sophisticated hot-cells and GMP facilities that will enable them to produce radiolabeled drugs for use in human patients.

A 10 MW, MURR is the largest university research reactor in the world.

MURR is internationally recognized for its capabilities and contributions to research in nuclear medicine, biomedical sciences and radiopharmaceutical chemistry. The most recent National Academy of Sciences review, Isotopes in Medicine and Life Sciences, identified MURR as the best reactor facility in the US for production of radioisotopes for biomedical research and medical applications. MURR currently produces more reactor-produced radioisotopes for biomedical researchers and human medical applications in the U.S. than any other domestic entity, including the entire US Department of Energy. In most cases, MURR is the sole supplier of these radionuclides. The interdisciplinary programs involving MURR scientists/faculty and RSI faculty are unparalleled and cannot be reproduced at any other university.

Biomolecular Imaging Center

The Biomolecular Imaging Center (BIC) is a specialized resource integrated with the RSI that is found at no other campus in the Big-12. The HS Truman Veterans Administration Hospital (HSTVAH) houses seven RSI faculty and their programs and has been an important cornerstone for the Institute. It houses the Biomolecular Imaging Center (BIC) that enable high resolution radionuclide, optical, X-ray and MRI imaging of rodent animal modes. The BIC is comprised of a Siemens Preclinical Solutions combined Micro-SPECT/CT, a Philips Mosaic Micro-PET, a Varian 7 T Micro-MRI, and a Xenogen IVIS-200 fluorescent/bioluminescent imaging system.

Collectively, the activities of the RSI are making important contributions to undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate educational and research programs across the University of Missouri campus and have been recognized both nationally and internationally. The uninterrupted succession of extramural peer reviewed grants from a variety of federal agencies over the past twenty years has provided a base of support that sustained continuity, permitted programmatic growth, and maintained a critical mass of expertise and infrastructure.

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