Development of PET radioligands for the functional imaging of glutamate receptors
Prof. Dr. Simon M. Ametamey
Radiopharmaceutical Sciences ETH Zurich
PET imaging probes for various brain targets have been developed and used for preclinical and clinical studies, however, the development of imaging probes for the glutamatergic system has met with limited success despite strenuous efforts. Glutamate receptors have been implicated in normal cognitive brain functions and a plethora of brain diseases including depression, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. As such, the functional imaging of glutamate receptors using PET would undeniably be useful for studying the numerous brain diseases in which glutamate receptors have been implicated. Also, the availability of suitable glutamate receptor imaging probes would also aid pharmaceutical companies to select the appropriate doses of clinically relevant glutamate-receptor-targeting candidate drugs very early during their drug development programmes. This talk will highlight recent progress made by our research group towards the development of glutamatergic PET imaging agents. Focus will be placed on metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 and GluN2B subunit of the ionotropic NMDA receptor.
At present, Prof. Simon M. Ametamey is Co-Head of the Animal Imaging Center-PET at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. He earned his doctorate degree in Organic Chemistry from the University of Zurich and spent one year as a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. K. Bernhard at Hoffmann La Roche, Basel, Switzerland. In 1991, he joined the Center for Radiopharmaceutical Sciences of ETH, PSI and USZ in Villigen, Switzerland. In 1994, Simon M. Ametamey worked as a research scientist in Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden under the supervision of Prof. Christer Halldin and contributed to the synthesis of dopamine transporter PET ligands. In January 1995, he became the group leader of the Radiotracer Synthesis research group at the Center for Radiopharmaceutical Sciences of ETH, PSI and USZ in Villigen. In 2001, he completed his habilitation in Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry at ETH Zurich, Switzerland and in 2006 was appointed Titularprofessor. His research work concentrates on the development of PET radioligands for endocannabinoid and glutamatergic neurotransmission systems as well as folate receptors.