PETRC Cyclotron

Hull Molecular Imaging Centres

A Centre of Excellence that brings together University and NHS research and clinical facilities to improve access to the best diagnostic care for cancer patients.

Professor Steve Archibald

The more information about a patient's cancer, the higher the chance of finding the most effective treatment. Molecular imaging provides an accurate picture of what is happening inside the body, and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanning is one of the most frequently used molecular imaging procedures. These insights enable doctors to better diagnose cancer, analyse how far it has spread and decide which is the best treatment. Molecular imaging is highly effective at detecting cancer, brain disorders, heart conditions and other diseases.  The University works in close partnership with Hull University Teaching Hospitals Trust and the Daisy Appeal to deliver a combined research and clinical facility that is benefitting patients in the Humber region and beyond, leading to superior diagnostics and improved outcomes.


Group lead

Professor Steve Archibald

Telephone +44 (0)1482 465488

Hull Molecular Imaging Research Centre

The Approach

The Hull Molecular Research Centres (HuMic) is a group of integrated medical-imaging research and clinical facilities.  The three sites are the Positron Emission Tomography Research Centre (PETRC) located at the University of Hull campus, and the Molecular Imaging Research Centre (MIRC) and Jack Brignall Clinical PET-CT Centre located adjacent to each other at Castle Hill Hospital, Cottingham. These integrated research and clinical facilities provide diagnostic and patient treatment that is among the best in the UK.   

Molecular imaging with PET lets us detect the molecular processes that underpin disease without the need for invasive surgery. It means therapy can be stratified to the patients with the best chance of responding. PET can also detect whether patients are responding to therapy early on, allowing treatment to be altered quickly if it is of little or no benefit.

Jack Brignall PET-CT Centre scanner

The Hull Molecular Imaging Research Centres have been developed and led financially (with over £15 million of investment) by the Daisy Appeal and the University of Hull and, together with the Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, provide comprehensive bench to bedside research and clinical facilities - bringing together University and NHS researchers. The collaborative team works across multiple NHS departments and University disciplines, ensuring that service delivery for the NHS and patients is of the highest standard. The ongoing clinical trials have upskilled the local workforce and enhanced their ability to handle an increased range of patient conditions. NHS staff are integrated into the University teams, and the research relationship with HUTH NHS has led to the development of these integrated facilities and a significant change in the practice and delivery of NHS radiopharmacy in Hull.

The PETRC, operational since 2014, has on-site ABT Biomarker Generator cyclotron, Gallium-68 generator, hot-cells, pre-clinical PET-CT and PET-SPECT scanners and the capacity to work with a range of short- to long- lived radioisotopes. The PETRC has also access to an animal house enabling it to perform the full range of in vitro and in vivo pre-clinical molecular studies on site. The Jack-Brignall Clinical PET-CT Centre services the NHS performing >3500 clinical scans per year on its Siemens Biograph mCT Flow Edge PET-CT scanner with another state-of-the art PET-CT scanner on order. The newly built £8.75 million translational imaging unit MIRC will be able to produce Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) grade radiotracers for clinical use on its recently installed on-site cyclotron.

Molecular Imaging Research Centre, CHH


  • To develop novel radiotracers for PET/SPECT imaging
  • To image established radiotracers to probe biological questions
  • To develop dose-on-demand technologies to improve widespread international use of PET imaging / Dose-on-demand radiopharmaceuticals
  • PET imaging of nano/microparticles
  • Chemokine receptor imaging
  • Mitochondrial targeted PET/Optical agents
  • Microfluidic tracer production
  • Imaging of tissue engineering constructs
  • PET imaging of photodynamic therapy

"We want to see what's happening inside you and see that to great detail. The excitement is about what's developing and finding signs of things like Alzheimer's disease before they develop."

Professor Steve Archibald - Professor in Molecular Imaging

The Impact

Research by the University of Hull team has underpinned ongoing investment in the latest tracers and technologies.  The team have been able to synthesise radiotracers, provide radiopharmaceuticals and give biomolecular process input for projects in clinical translation involving national and international collaborators. The research projects range from optimising the amounts of drugs delivered to patients, improving the understanding of biochemical processes and developing new scanning protocols to determining the timing of scans to maximise the potential of a successful clinical outcome.

These changes have improved the facilities for delivery of radiopharmacy and reduced the risk of patient service failure to ensure that all patients can receive their diagnosis as rapidly as possible. 

In addition, the facility has collaboration agreements for research with other institutions and commercial organisations. These are in place to supply tracers to Universities and research facilities, making our centre a focus for translational medical imaging research in the North of England. The University of Hull has hosted placement students, internships, PhD studentships and visiting scientists from countries including Uganda, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, France, Turkey and Thailand.

Research Centres

PET Research Centre (PETRC)

The availability of new types of scans tested in the University PET Research Centre has improved the capabilities of Nuclear Cardiology at Castle Hill Hospital. These include patients with amyloid scans, sarcoidosis and drug delivery to the lung, with more than 50 patients benefitting per annum.

".. a continued and significant improvement in the delivery of these diagnostic services has resulted in an improved standard of patient care. This partnership approach has enabled the PET Research Centre (PETRC) to increase its throughput and effectively cope with an ever-increasing number of patient scans.

David Haire - Project Director, Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Jack Brignall PET-CT Clinical Scanning Centre

Replacing a limited capacity mobile scanner that was only based at the hospital for two days a week, the PET-CT Clinical Scanning Centre his site houses a Siemens Biograph mCT Flow Edge PET-CT scanner, with a second state-of-the-art scanner on order.  The building has enabled a three-fold increase in the number of scans, and its state-of-the-art equipment has improved the healthcare and experience of thousands of patients.

Molecular Imaging Research Centre (MIRC)

Opening later in 2023, the MIRC is located next door to the PET-CT Clinical Scanning Centre, enabling easier collaboration and speedier diagnostics and care for patients.  The centre will accommodate a groundbreaking dose-on-demand cyclotron facility based around a GE GENTrace cyclotron. 

Together, these three integrated facilities have improved patient care facilities and increased clinical trial opportunities at Castle Hill Hospital, serving Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire. The innovative medical imaging technologies employed at these sites have significantly impacted patient health and NHS services while facilitating international research interactions and attracting skilled workers to the region.



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