A new national research-dedicated centre located within St Thomas’ Hospital as part of the King’s and St Thomas’ MedTech Hub, the facility will specialise in radionuclide production and radiopharmaceutical chemistry for preclinical applications. CARL is a multi-user facility, available to both academia and industry.
Until now, there has been no dedicated, non-GMP-regulated radiopharmaceutical research facility in the UK able to handle high levels of radioactivity, a bottleneck for domestic radionuclide production and radiopharmaceutical research.
The initial upgrade of the CARL laboratory facilities was funded by a £1m equipment grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), awarded to Prof Tony Gee, Prof Alexander Hammers, Prof Phil Blower, Dr Karin Nielsen and Dr Julia Blower, with significant additional support from King’s College London Estates and Facilities.
The facility houses equipment for high-activity radionuclide production and radiochemistry development including hot cells, automated synthesis equipment and specialist analytical equipment.
The 11 MeV cyclotron that originally launched the KCL and GSTT PET Centre in 1991 has also been refurbished as part of the CARL facility. It will be used for making radionuclides for further research onsite in CARL and the Department of Imaging Chemistry and Biology, as well as small-scale supply to research labs across the UK. The centre will also enable hands-on training and teaching on site.