Len LuytLen Luyt
Assistant Professor
B.Sc.(Eng.), Queen’s University
Ph.D., The University of Western Ontario
PDF, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Office: Chemistry 219a. Lab: LRCP A4-817
Phone (Office): 519 685-8600 ext 53302
Phone (Lab): 519 685-8600 ext 53299


Research Group Homepage

Organic, medicinal and radiopharmaceutical chemistry


Early Researcher Award

Current Research Programs:

Our research program involves the design, preparation, and evaluation of new compounds for the imaging and treatment of cancer. Many cancer tumours have an abundance of peptide receptors located on the surface of the tumour cells, mostly belonging to the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) superfamily. By using the peptides that normally bind to these receptors as the starting point, we are designing variations of these compounds such that they will contain a radioactive component, yet still bind to the intended peptide receptor, and have appropriate in vivo behaviour. Thus, a radioactive peptide-like compound will be injected into a patient, will localize in the cancer tumour, and using an external camera an image of the tumour will be viewed. This approach also has potential use as a method of treatment for cancer.

As part of this program of creating new cancer imaging and therapeutic agents, new chemical methods and technologies for the preparation of these novel compounds are being developed. While radiopharmaceuticals are a primary focus of our research, our group is also pursuing probes for other molecular imaging modalities (such as optical imaging), and small molecule cancer therapeutics. Students involved in research in our group acquire synthetic organic chemistry, solid-phase organic chemistry, peptide/peptidomimetic design, bioconjugation, and radiolabelling skills. This research requires interaction with cancer and imaging scientists and group members are able to take projects from the basic chemistry stage through to animal model studies.

Selected Publications:

Lu, C; McFarland, MS; Williams, AK; Chan, S; Gomez-Lemus, J; Chin, J; Izawa, J; Luyt, LG; Lewis, JD. “Ghrelin Receptor as a Novel Imaging Target for Prostatic Neoplasms.” The Prostate doi: 10.1002/pros.21484.

Steinmetz, NF*; Ablack, A*; Hickey, JL*; Ablack, J; Mymryk, JS; Luyt, LG; Lewis, JD. Intravital imaging of human prostate cancer using bombesin-targeted viral nanoparticles.  Small, 7(12), 1664-1672, 2011. (* contributed equally). doi: 10.1002/smll.201000435

Behnam Azad, B.; Rota, V.; Breadner, D.; Dhanvantari, S.; Luyt, L.G.  Design, Synthesis and In Vitro Characterization of Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Derivatives for Pancreatic Beta Cell Imaging by SPECT.  Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, 18, 1265-1272, 2010. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2009.12.032

Amadei, G., Cho, C.F., Lewis, J.D., Luyt, L.G.  Fast, reproducible and low-cost method for sequence deconvolution of “on-bead” peptides via “on-target” MALDI-TOF/TOF spectrometry. J. Mass Spectrometry, 45(3), 241-251, 2009. doi: 10.1002/jms.1708

Rosita, D.; DeWit, M.; Luyt, L.G.  Fluorine and rhenium substituted ghrelin analogues as potential imaging probes for the growth hormone secretagogue receptor.  J. Med. Chem., 52(8), 2196-2203, 2009. doi: 10.1021/jm8014519

Western provides the best student experience among Canada's leading research-intensive universities.