CHDR clinical research unit for Neurology & PET studies

CRU for Neurology and PET studies

In 2010, CHDR and VUmc decided to join forces in the areas of PET research and early phase drug research in patients with neurological disorders. Recently, a clinical research unit was established on the neurology ward of VUmc. Techniques that were developed by CHDR for early phase drug research in healthy volunteers, will be used to assess pharmacological response to treatment in patients with for example Alzheimer's disease or multiple sclerosis. The two bed unit has a separate research room with a NeuroCart. In the VUmc MR imaging, neurophysiology (EEG, EMG, MEG), certified diagnostic laboratories and a GMP approved pharmacy are available.


The department of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine of the VUmc, together with the BV Cyclotron VU, provides the means to fully develop radiopharmaceuticals for PET and SPECT in both animal and human studies. Expertise ranges from radionuclide production, through new tracer development and preclinical evaluation, to clinical use of new and existing tracers with highly qualified specialists who operate in a multidisciplinary environment. The complete process is performed according to state-of-the-art GMP/GLP/GCP standards. In addition, the departmental radiopharmaceutical research, development and production site is inspected on a regular basis by the Dutch Health Care Inspectorate and is licensed to manufacture tracers for human use according to the latest EU guidelines.


PET studies require close collaboration of highly qualified specialists from different areas, including radiochemistry, physics, nuclear medicine and clinical pharmacology. The centre for human drug research (CHDR)  is a clinical pharmacology research center in Leiden and is responsible for all CRO services provided in the PET and SPECT studies. In this way, sophisticated PET studies are run smoothly and safely. Studies can be even more informative if PET scans are are peformed within early phase drug studies that involve highly intensive  pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic sampling.


  • Neurology: Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy
  • Psychiatry: Anxiety & depression, schizophrenia,
  • Cardiology: Myocardial ischemia, heart failure , pulmonary hypertension
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis , vasculitis
  • Oncology : Lung , head & neck , colorectal cancer, prostate in development, malignant lymphoma. Response monitoring (anti-angiogenesis, chemo & radiotherapy)

Available tracer kinetic models and data analysis procedures

General models and data analysis tools

  • Single tissue, two tissue (reversible and irreversible), reference tissue
  • Steady state and linearised models
  • Spectral, cluster and factor analysis
  • Basis pursuit, parametric imaging (linearisations, basis functions)
  • Metabolite models
  • Dose ranging studies
  • Biological half-life studies

Tracer kinetic models for specific applications

  • Perfusion, perfusable tissue index
  • Glucose metabolism, fatty acid metabolism, oxygen utilisation
  • Blood volume, haematocrit
  • Integrity blood-brain barrier
  • p-Glycoprotein function
  • pH
  • Osteoblast activity, TK1 activity, MAO-B activity
  • Dopamine D2 and D1 receptors, dopamine transporters
  • Central (GABAA) and peripheral benzodiazepine receptors
  • Serotonin 5-HT1A receptors
  • NK1 receptors