Research Network for Metals in Medicine



Dr Suzanne Smith

Affiliation: ANSTO, Materials and Engineering Science

Postal Address:
PMB 1 Menai NSW 2234

Phone: + 61 (02) 9717 3400
Fax: +61 (02) 9543 7179

Research Profile

Relevant Appointments
Dr Suzanne V Smith has a Ph D in Inorganic Chemistry from James Cook University of North Queensland, Townsville, Queensland in 1990. She joined ANSTO in 1990 as scientific officer and by 1993 was appointed Group Leader and reached Senior Research Scientist by 1994 through accelerated promotions.

  • Research Fellowship at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, in 1992.
  • Finalist in the Telstra 2000 Business Award in the Government Category (NSW).
In May 2003 she transferred to Materials and Engineering Science at ANSTO.

Recent National and International Appointments
She has been appointed to a number of scientific and organizing committees of a various national and international conference and societies. They include;

  • 2003 International Atomic Radiation Research Conference, Brisbane, Aug 2003.
  • Secretary and Treasurer, Australian and New Zealand Society of Nuclear Medicine, NSW Branch, Jan 2002.
  • Scientific Program, Turku PET Symposium, The IX Symposium on Medical Applications of Cyclotrons, Turku, Finland, May 2002.
  • Board of Directors of the Radiopharmaceutical Science Council, Society of Nuclear Medicine, USA Jun 1999 till 2001. Board members are nominated and elected by peers. The first Australian elected to the board.
  • Organising Committee, 15th International Symposium in Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry, Sydney 2003.
  • Invited delegate to the National Innovation Summit, Melbourne, 11-13 December, 1999. One of 85 women from 600 invited business and science delegates throughout Australia.
  • International Organising Committee (1 of 4) of the Pacifichem 2000 Congress, Symposium on Radionuclides for Therapeutic Oncology, Hawaii.
  • Successfully led Bid for the 15th International Symposium in Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry, Sydney 2003. For more than 20 years this conference has been held only in USA, Europe or Japan.
  • Organising Committee, 2003 International Atomic Radiation Research Conference to be held in Brisbane, Oct 1997.
  • Scientific Jury, International Chemistry Olympiad, Melbourne, Australia, Jul 1998.
  • Member of Academic Board, 30th International Chemistry Olympiad, 1996 – 1998. Invited by the Royal Australian Chemical Society. This was the first time nuclear medicines were included in academic syllabus.

Significant Research Achievements
Suzanne V Smith has over 14 years experience in Radiopharmaceutical Sciences: specifically in the area of design and application of metal chelating agents, chemistry, biochemistry, radionuclide production, in cyclotrons and reactors, innovation in production and separation processes, design and conduct of animal studies, clinical application of radiopharmaceuticals for diagnosis, prognosis and therapy of disease. The commercial manufacture of radiopharmaceuticals and radioisotopes under GMP and ISO9002. The applications of radioisotopes in industry and the environment, for monitoring metal ion pathways in biological systems.

Significant Achievements
Filed 7 patents and 2 PCT on novel nuclear medicine production processes and technologies for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Key inventor and manager of these projects from concept to production and/or clinical trial.

Cut production time (> 400 %) for Pt-195m cisplatin and carboplatin, from 8.5 and 24 hours to 1.5 and 1.75 hours respectively. This new production process optimizes yield and increases reliability (> 99.9%), providing for the first time internationally, a commercially viable production process of Pt-195m radiopharmaceuticals for screening of patients prior to platinum based therapy. This technology is patent protected and applicable to other Pt (II) and Pt(IV) based chemotherapeutics. It is also envisaged that this technology can provide for significant cost-reduction of drug risk assessment studies of new platinum based chemotherapeutic agents.

Developed an innovative technique for the cyclotron (particle accelerator) production of high specific activity (> 1200,000 Ci/g at EOB) copper-64. The new process for copper-64 production is a world-first. The Cu-64 is co-produced during the routine production of Ga-67. The Cu-64 has a higher purity than previously reported and can be used up to 7 days post EOB. The new technique is more efficient and generates less waste than existing technology. Copper-64 has been commercially available for some years and the generic technology underlying its development can be applied to other agents.

The innovative separation process used in the isolation of Cu-64 is also used to simultaneously purify enriched Zn-68 target material for reuse. Originally these processes were conducted as two separate processes. The metal ion impurities of the recycled Zn-68 are reduced by 200 - 400 fold and its recycling time from 5 days to less than 2 days. This process not only reduces operator time, and radiation dose but can also significantly reduce the required inventory of Zn-68 for Ga-67 production from >100 gram to 20 grams (i.e cost of $500,000 to $100,000).

Furtherwork has enabled the attachment (via novel chelators) of copper-64 to carrier molecules (e.g proteins and peptides) for targetting disease for imaging and or therapy. The technology is designed to be user friendly and have multiple applications. The kits formulated are elegantly simply allowing preparation within Nuclear Medicine Departments and avoids the use of specialised and costly production facilities. The technology is presently under evaluation by

  • Cambridge University, UK
  • Harvard University,USA
  • TRIUMF, Canada for diagnosis of disease
A novel production process for In-111 has also been developed. The enriched Cd-112 target can also be purified during the isolation of In-111.