Development of MERTK PET radiotracers in multiple sclerosis diagnosis

MS is a complex disease and drug discovery is made difficult by being unable to diagnose at what particular stage an MS patient’s disease may be at any given time.

How did the facility help?

The facility has developed potent, highly affinity and selective ligands as a PET tracer for a protein tyrosine kinase whose overexpression is strongly linked to a specific and pathogenically relevant stage of MS.


While this program is an ongoing one, such translation is often 3-10 years in the making and new progress on this project needs to be highlighted. Our current best compounds are now being given to mice in animal models of MS in order to image using MRI in order to determine the utility of this kinase as a diagnostic.

  “The ATMCF has enabled progression into this exciting area of PET radiotracer development where we had no other way of doing so. If successful, outcomes will be of great benefit to patients with MS and other autoimmune diseases.” – Howard Florey Institute


The Australian Translational Medicinal Chemistry Facility (ATMCF) is part of the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences. The ATMCF became fully functional in August, 2012. The ATMCF comprises the principal research laboratories with 14 fumehoods and accompanying offices, directed by Professor Baell, and is staffed project period has seen expansion to 18 personnel, including 6 post-doctoral Fellows, cumulatively representing more than 30 FTE years of employment. 

Australian Translational Medical Chemistry Facility