Research in Persian Gulf Nuclear Medicine Research Center
We have active research groups within our department. The department has three major research groups:
- Medical Physics
- Molecular Pharmacology
Medical Physics is the branch of physics associated with the practice of medicine. It includes the specialties of therapeutic radiological physics, diagnostic imaging physics, nuclear medicine physics, and medical health physics (radiation protection).
In the case of research, medical physics includes research in any applications of physics to medicine from the study of biomolecular structure to microscopy and nanomedicine.
Medical physicists play a vital and often leading role on the medical research team. Their activities cover wide frontiers, including such key areas as cancer, heart disease, and mental illness. In cancer, they work primarily on issues involving radiation, such as the basic mechanisms of biological change after irradiation, the application of new high-energy machines to patient treatment, and the development of new techniques for precise measurement of radiation. Significant computer developments continue in the area of dose calculation for patient treatment and video display of this treatment information. Particle irradiation is an area of active research with promising biological advantages over traditional photon treatment. In heart disease, physicists work on the measurement of blood flow and oxygenation. In mental illness, they work on the recording, correlation, and interpretation of bioelectric potentials.
Medical physicists are also concerned with research of general medical significance, including the applications of digital computers in medicine and applications of information theory to diagnostic problems; processing, storing, and retrieving medical images; measuring the amount of radioactivity in the human body and foodstuffs; and studying the anatomical and temporal distribution of radioactive substances in the body.
Applications of nanotechnology in nuclear medicine can be found in areas of diagnostics, therapeutics, theranostics, and regenerative medicine. Nanomaterials can improve diagnostic imaging techniques even at the level of single cells before overall symptoms appear. Fusion of nanomaterials with molecular imaging devices permits diagnostic and dynamic processes atthe molecular level. A single nanoparticle can be tagged with various imaging agents and different targeting ligands can be constructed on similar nanoparticles to introduce selectivity. The ability of nanoparticles to bypass biological barriers enhances targeting efficacy. Finally, radio-labeled nanoparticles remain stable under many physiological conditions. Nanotechnology in our days is a broad field for medicine and nuclear medicine theranostics, which is expected to yield practical applications in the future.
Molecular Pharmacology is the branch of medicine and biology concerned with the study of drug action, where a drug can be broadly defined as any man-made, natural, or endogenous (within the body) molecule which exerts a biochemical and/or physiological effect on the cell, tissue, organ, or organism. More specifically, it is the study of the interactions that occur between a living organism and chemicals that affect normal or abnormal biochemical function. If substances have medicinal properties, they are considered pharmaceuticals.
Radiopharmacology is the study and preparation of radiopharmaceuticals, which are radioactive pharmaceuticals. Radiopharmaceuticals are used in the field of nuclear medicine as tracers in the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases. Many radiopharmaceuticals use technetium-99m (Tc-99m) which has many useful properties as a gamma-emitting tracer nuclide. In the book Technetium a total of 31 different radiopharmaceuticals based on Tc-99m are listed for imaging and functional studies of the brain, myocardium, thyroid, lungs, liver, gallbladder, kidneys, skeleton, blood and tumors.
The term radioisotope has historically been used to refer to all radiopharmaceuticals, and this usage remains common. Technically, however, many radiopharmaceuticals incorporate a radioactive tracer atom into a larger pharmaceutically-active molecule, which is localized in the body, after which the radionuclide tracer atom allows it to be easily detected with a gamma camera or similar gamma imaging device. An example is fludeoxyglucose in which fluorine-18 is incorporated into deoxyglucose. Some radioisotopes (for example gallium-67, gallium-68, and radioiodine) are used directly as soluble ionic salts, without further modification. This use relies on the chemical and biological properties of the radioisotope itself, to localize it within the body.