Current State of Targeted Radiometal-Based Constructs for the Detection and Treatment of Disease in the Brain

Bioconjug Chem. 2021 Jul 21;32(7):1331-1347. doi: 10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.1c00180. Epub 2021 May 20.


The continual development of radiopharmaceutical agents for the field of nuclear medicine is integral to promoting the necessity of personalized medicine. One way to greatly expand the selection of radiopharmaceuticals available is to broaden the range of radionuclides employed in such agents. Widening the scope of development to include radiometals with their variety of physical decay characteristics and chemical properties opens up a myriad of possibilities for new actively targeted molecules and bioconjugates. This is especially true to further advance the imaging and treatment of disease in the brain. Over the past few decades, imaging of disease in the brain has heavily relied on agents which exploit metabolic uptake. However, through utilizing the broad range of physical characteristics that radiometals offer, the ability to target other processes has become more available. The varied chemistries of radiometals also allows for them to incorporated into specifically designed diverse constructs. A major limitation to efficient treatment of disease in the brain is the ability for relevant agents to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. Thus, along with efficient disease targeting, there must be intentional thought put into overcoming this challenge. Here, we review the current field of radiometal-based agents aimed at either imaging or therapy of brain disease that have been evaluated through at least in vivo studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Brain Diseases / metabolism
  • Brain Diseases / radiotherapy*
  • Chelating Agents / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Metals / metabolism*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / metabolism*


  • Chelating Agents
  • Metals
  • Radiopharmaceuticals