Cyclotron Research Facility Transforms Imaging Research After nearly two decades, the University of Chicago welcomed the return of a cyclotron research facility, which opened in January 2017, making the University the only academic medical institution in Illinois with an operational cyclotron. A cyclotron is a type of parti- cle accelerator that uses a mag- net and high electrical voltage to accelerate charged particles in a spiral motion. The particles even- tually collide with a target, caus- ing a nuclear reaction to produce radioactive isotopes. These isotopes are combined with chemical compounds to create injectable radioactive mole- cules, or tracers, which are used in Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans. In a PET scan, a radioactive tracer is injected into the patient. Radiologists then use imaging techniques to fol- low the “glowing” tracer as the patient’s body processes the mol- ecule. This process helps doctors and researchers diagnose disease, predict outcomes, and assess the effects of drugs. “Now that we have the new cyclotron, we can really fuel the engine to empower our molecular imaging research,” said Chin–Tu Chen, PhD, associate professor of radiology, who was a mem- ber of the original radiochemistry research team that worked with UChicago’s first cyclotron, which was installed in 1968 and decom- missioned in 1997. Chen is collaborating with other Comprehensive Cancer Center members including Chien–Min Kao, PhD, associate professor of radiol- ogy, Raymond Moellering, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry, and William Green, PhD, professor of neurobiology. For example, Green and Chen are developing PET probes to image proteins in the brain that respond to nicotine, which will allow them to study the effects of smoking cessation therapy. Funding for the $8.4 million cyclo­ tron project came in part from the William F. O’Connor Foundation, the Duchossois Family Foundation, Ludwig Cancer Research, and the University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation Women’s Board. “Now that we have the new cyclotron, we can really fuel the engine to empower our molecular imaging research.” — Chin–Tu Chen, PhD 8 Powered by Innovation