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Molecular Imaging Research And Clinic LEuven


MIRACLE, the Molecular Imaging Research and Clinic center of the K.U.Leuven/UZ Gasthuisberg Leuven is designed to intergrate the highly sensitive techniques of PET (both PET-CT and PET-MR), SPECT, microPET and microSPECT with other anatomo-functional imaging modalities such as CT, MRI, optical imaging to develop an integrated set of core technologies for drug development, clinical trials and fundamental research studies.


Full Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) is currently under construction. Through the Flemish government grant Hercules III in collaboration with industry (Merck, Johnson and Johnson, GE Healthcare and Siemens), a substantial injection in the GMP infrastructure has been given in 2010. Full GMP compliance is projected by Q1 2014.

The Small Animal Imaging Center as part of MIRACLE is supported by the KUL as center of excellence, and works in close collaboration with:

  • SCIL (stem cell institute Leuven, head Prof. C. Verfaillie)
  • Division of Molecular Medicine (Laboratory of Molecular Virology and Gene Therapy, head prof. Z. Debyser; Laboratory for Neurobiology and Gene Therapy, head prof. V. Baekelandt and Laboratory for Molecular Virology and Drug Discovery, Head prof. M. Witvrouw).

The Core Lab incorporates the available know-how and infrastructure of the Division of Nuclear Medicine for

  • study design
  • study execution
  • analysis of clinical imaging trials


Available imaging hardware

In the Division of Nuclear Medicine (head Prof Dr K Van Laere )

  • PET-MR (GE Signa PET/MR, 3Tesla)
  • PET-CT (Siemens TruePoint LSO, 40-sliceCT scanner)
  • PET-CT (Siemens, HiRez LSO, 16-slice CT scanner)
  • SPECT (CT) :
    • Dual-Head SPECT-CT (Siemens, Symbia 16-slice CT)
    • Dual-Head SPECT-CT (GE, Discovery 16 slice CT)
    • Dual-Head (2) (Siemens ECAM (2)
  • MicroPET (Concorde FOCUS 220 LSO)
  • PET insert for Bruker MR
  • MicroSPECT (in-house developement pinhole SPECT)
  • Optical Imaging : Bioluminiscence (reservation)
    In the Division of Radiology (head Prof Dr G Marchal)
  • several multislice CT
  • 4 MRI (1.5 and 3 Tesla)
  • microMR (9 Tesla)
  • microCT (lab Prof. Bouillon, Endocrinology)
    Hospital-wide PACS system (Agfa-Gevaert)
  • with online radiology and nuclear medicine images
  • fully integrated in HIS (Hospital Information System - Clinical Work Station KWS)

Available image processing software

  • Full HERMES network with > 10 nodes (Nuclear Diagnostics)
  • A large set of well-validated IDL modules for
    • data acquisition
    • data analysis of static, dynamic and gated planar and tomographic datasets
    • reconstruction (iterative, filtered backprojection)
    • corrections for attenuation, scatter, partial volume
    • image algebra
    • multimodality image fusion
  • Gated cardiac study analysis (Germano, GE Xeleris)
  • Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM 8)
  • Pixel-Based Kinetic Modelling (PMOD - Zurich; in-house software)


Available radiochemistry and radiopharmaceutical facilities

  • In-house cyclotron (IBA 18/9)
  • 11 shielded cabinets, each holding a PET synthesis module
  • synthesis of a.o.:
    • [11C]choline
    • [11C]DASB
    • [11C]flumazenil
    • [11C]methionine
    • [11C]PE2I
    • [11C]PIB
    • [11C]raclopride
    • [11C]PMP
    • [11C]carfentanil
    • [11C]acetate
    • [11C]NE40
    • [18F]Fallypride
    • [18F]FDG
    • [18F]FET
    • [18F]FHB
    • [18F]FHBG
    • [18F]FLT
    • [18F]FMISO
    • [18F]MK-9470
    • [18F]FECT
    • [18F]fluoride
    • [18F]benzoic acid
    • [68Ga]DOTATOC
    • [13N]NH3
    • [15O]water
    • [13N]-ammonia
  • 3 LAF cabinets with lead shielding for handling and dispensing of radiolabelled compounds
  • 8 Radio-HPLC systems
  • Radio gas chromatograph
  • Radio-HPLC in series with mass spectrometer for LC-MS of radiolabelled compounds
  • Phosphor screen autoradiography system (Packard)
  • Fully equipped organic synthesis lab
  • Autoradiography

Available facilities for clinical pharmacology within UZ Leuven

Know-how and expertise


  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) with applications in
    • cardiology
    • oncology
    • neurology and psychiatry
    • infection and inflammation
  • Planar gamma camera imaging and Single Photon Emission (Computed) Tomography (SPECT) with applications in
    • cardiology
    • oncology
    • neurology and psychiatry
    • gastro-enterology
    • uronephrology
    • orthopaedics, sports medicine and traumatology
    • infection and inflammation
  • Clinical Trials
  • Cost Benefit Studies
  • Nuclear Equipment
  • Radioimmunotherapy

Image processing, instrumentation and radiation physics

  • Nuclear Equipment (PET + gamma camera + counters) and quality control
  • Reconstruction techniques (iterative - FBP)
  • Partial Volume Correction
  • Attenuation and Scatter correction
  • Image fusion
  • Kinetic modelling
  • Dosimetry and radiation protection
  • Medical Image Computing for diagnosis & therapy (MIC)

Radiochemistry and radiopharmacy

  • General clinical radiopharmacy
  • Extensive halogen, carbon and technetium radiochemistry
  • Cyclotron radioistope production and chemistry
  • Good manufacturing practice

last changes 20.04.2016