Rigshospitalet is the national university hospital of Denmark, leading in the treatment of patients with need of highly specialized procedures. It is among the best clinical research institutions in Europe with more than 2,000 peer-review publications per year. The Department of Clinical Physiology, Nuclear Medicine & PET is one of the leading nuclear medicine departments in Europe, with a staff of over 170 and >70,000 patient investigations annually. The department is very research active with >120 peer-review publications in 2015.

Coordinator, Professor Andreas Kjaer, is head of Cluster for Molecular Imaging as well as head of research for the whole department. We are currently 30 full-time researchers (50% female, no bias in seniority), which together constitutes a cross-disciplinary team necessary for developing molecular imaging and theranostics. The facilities of the department are state of the art and have a net worth of more than EUR 45 M. The facilities available include animal facilities, pre-clinical imaging facilities, clinical imaging facilities, cyclotron and radiochemistry facilities, a cell laboratory and a comprehensive molecular biology laboratory. These facilities are all necessary for translating results from in vitro experiments and animal studies into routine use in humans. As an example, the tracer 64Cu-DOTATATE was developed by Prof. Kjaer’s group and is now routinely used for evaluation of cancer patients as well as a companion diagnostic for radionuclide therapy at Rigshospitalet. Also, Prof. Kjaer’s group recently performed first-in-human uPAR-PET following five years of preclinical development of the tracer. The group has extensive experience in and a track record of obtaining approval for, human use of new imaging ligands. Prof. Kjaer was selected spokesman and representative of the Danish University Departments of Nuclear Medicine towards the Danish Health Board regarding approval of new tracers. Several members of the research group are GCP certified and the team has concluded several studies under GCP, including Phase I trials of new tracers.

Major research activities in relation to this proposal are

  • Translation research
  • Animal models (subcutaneous and orthotopic human xenograft models, patient-derived xenograft models (PDX), companion dogs with spontaneous tumors)
  • Radiochemistry
  • Imaging (PET/CT/MRI)
  • Cell laboratory
  • Molecular biology laboratory

Professor Andreas Kjaer

Andreas Kjaer was appointed full professor at the University of Copenhagen and chief physician and head of research at Department of Clinical Physiology, Nuclear Medicine & PET at Rigshospitalet, the National University Hospital of Denmark in 2003. Since he took over research leadership in 2003, research at the department has increased remarkably, e.g. number of published peer-review articles increased from 23 in 2003 to >150 in 2015. Professor Kjaer is currently president of the Scandinavian Society for Nuclear Medicine and has been on the scientific board of the Danish Cancer Society and is member of the EANM Oncology Committee. He is national director of the European Advanced Translational Research Infrastructure in Medicine (EATRIS). His research is focused on molecular imaging with PET and PET/MRI in cancer. Chief achievements include development of new tracers with first-in-human clinical use. Professor Kjaer has published more than 300 peer-review articles, supervised more than 30 PhD students and has received numerous prestigious scientific awards over the years, including the ERC Advanced Grant in 2015.

To pursue the goal of translational research within molecular imaging, professor Kjaer established a center adding state of the art facilities for animal molecular imaging to existing clinical scanners. After raising funds for dedicated animal scanners, the center was fully operational in 2005.

Chief production manager Jacob Madsen

Dr. Madsen is Chief Production Manager at the Department of Clinical Physiology, Nuclear Medicine & PET at Rigshospitalet, Denmark. He received his PhD in radiopharmaceutical chemistry in 2003 and was appointed as a production manager at Rigshospitalet one year later. His research interest is based on radioligand development of PET tracers for various biological systems. He is currently member of the board of the Danish Society for Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine. He has published more than 35 peer-review articles and co-supervised several PhD students.

Research manager Anne Mette F Hag

Dr. Hag has been part of prof. Kjaer’s group since 2007, first as a student and since 2013 as a senior scientist. She holds a PhD degree in human biology and also has a background as an accountant. Since medio 2013, she also works as a research coordinator of Prof. Kjaer’s group. Current research is focused on testing new tracers in vivo and validating them using different molecular biology techniques.