Department of Nuclear Medicine

Department of Nuclear Medicine

Key treatment areas

  • radioiodine therapy of benign thyroid disorders
  • radionuclide therapy of thyroid cancer and other cancers

Key research areas

  • mapping of memory functions
  • dopaminergic and serotonergic neurotransmission
  • stem cell transplantation after cardiac infarction
  • metabolic tumor imaging
  • small-animal tomography (SPECT, PET)

Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. BA (open) H.-W. Müller

Direktor der Klinik

Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. BA (open) H.-W. Müller

Facharzt für Nuklearmedizin
Moorenstr. 5
40225 Düsseldorf

The Clinic of Nuclear Medicine of the University Hospital with its locations both in Düsseldorf and at the Research Center Jülich runs a nuclear medical out-patient-department covering the whole spectrum of radioisotope scanning from thyroid and skeleton scintigraphy to examinations of amino acid metabolism for tumor diagnosis. Apart from several conventional gamma cameras at both locations, the clinic runs four SPECT cameras partly equipped with more than one detector head. Furthermore, there is an out-patient-department in Jülich, which is specialized in thyroid disorders and excels by combining diagnostic approaches of internal medicine with nuclear medical ones.

Part of our diagnostic spectrum are also up-to-date nuclear medical examination techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET). This method is used to examine glucose metabolism in patients suffering from cancer or cardiologic, neurological and psychiatric diseases.

Apart from the wide range of diagnostic possibilities, the Clinic of Nuclear Medicine constitutes one of the largest nuclear medical therapy centers in Germany, which is specialized on the treatment of benign and malign thyroid disorders.

Patient care

In Nuclear Medicine, radioactive substances are applied for either diagnosis or treatment using very small and harmless amounts. With these so-called tracers, metabolic processes or organ function can be studied within the human body. The distribution of radioactive tracers is made visible using special cameras for the detection of radiation. Thus, metabolic irregularities may be diagnosed which are indicative of diseases.

Presently, nuclear medical physicians are able to detect a number of metabolic disorders; diseases may be diagnosed in an early stage, even if organs are not altered in morphological terms. Tumor cells, for example, are characterized by elevated glucose utilization. Therefore, Nuclear Medicine may detect the tumor by labeling glucose with a radioactive isotope and observing its consumption within the body before changes are detectable by morphological imaging methods (MRI, CT).  Nuclear medical examinations may also be successfully employed for the diagnosis of brain diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or epilepsy. Because of Nuclear Medicine, today much more is known about their causes. Investigations of the Clinic of Nuclear Medicine showed e. g. that psychiatric diseases such as depression may be related to specific biochemical changes of the brain.

Therapeutically, radioiodine therapy is vastly applied for the treatment of thyroid diseases. In patients suffering from thyroid cancer, tumor cells may be effectively destroyed using this method. The applied radioactive iodine almost exclusively accumulates within the tumor cells, which are destroyed by the emitted radiation.

Research and teaching

Our research focuses on the assessment of brain functions. Generally, our studies involve measurements of blood flow, glucose utilization and neuroreceptor/transporter binding. One major field of research is the investigation of brain regions relevant for memory formation. Moreover, we investigate synaptic changes in patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders. A further aspect of our work is the employment of highly-resolving small animal cameras for the assessment of pre- and postsynaptic regulation mechanisms.

These studies aim to deepen our knowledge of dysfunctions related to diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, epilepsy and depression and contribute to the development of novel therapeutic strategies.
A further key topic of our clinical research is to investigate the effects of myocardial stem cell transplantation after cardiac infarction. Furthermore, we work on several oncological projects; a variety of malign neoplasms including brain tumors, thyroid cancer and prostate cancer are investigated applying PET or SPECT and newly developed radiotracers. Additionally, in a multicenter study, infantile tumors and their response to therapy are investigated.

A further aspect of our scientific activities is the development and employment of highly-resolving cameras suitable for the investigation of small animals.

Curriculum vitae Prof. Dr. med. Hans-Wilhelm Müller

1974 - 1980  Studies of medicine at the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) and at the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
1980German medical state examination and license to practise
1981Clinical board examination (USA)
1982Pre-clinical board examination (USA)
1986Specialist in Nuclear Medicine
1987M. D. thesis
1988Habilitation
1978 - 1993Numerous stays in Great Britain and USA; from 1989-1993 at Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore (grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)
since 1993C4-Professor for Nuclear Medicine at the  Heinrich-Heine-University
1999/2000 European Professorship (Chaire Européenne)  at the Collège de France, Paris, France
 Prof. Dr. H.-W. Müller has published more than 120 original publications which focus on in vivo imaging (PET, SPECT, MRI) of molecular functions in the context of clinical and basic science topics (central nervous system, heart, tumours) and on the therapy of thyroid disorders.
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