Design, construction and testing of a low-cost automated 68Gallium-labeling synthesis unit

Am J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2016; 6(3): 176–184.

The interest in 68Gallium labeled PET probes continues to increase around the world. Widespread use in Europe and Asia has led to great interest for use at numerous sites in the US. One barrier to entry is the cost of the automated synthesis units for relatively simple labeling procedures. We describe the construction and testing of a relatively low-cost automated 68Ga-labeling unit for human-use. We provide a guide for construction, including part lists and synthesis timelists to facilitate local implementation. Such inexpensive systems could help increase use around the globe and in the US in particular by removing one of the barriers to greater widespread availability. The developed automated synthesis unit reproducibly synthesized 68Ga-DOTATOC with average yield of 71 ± 8% and a radiochemical purity ≥ 95% in a synthesis time of 25 ± 1 minutes. Automated product yields are comparable to that of manual synthesis. We demonstrate in-house construction and use of a low-cost automated synthesis unit for labeling of DOTATOC and similar peptides with 68Gallium.