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A new fluorine method
June 2018
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While the addition of fluorine can improve drug molecules, only one fluorination reaction is known to occur in nature, and it involves complex, highly specialized enzymes that are hard to recreate. A research team has bypassed this with the development of a new molecule that can perform the enzymes’ job but be precisely designed and controlled. The catalyst transforms a safe fluoride salt into fluorinated organic molecules, which can be used for developing pharmaceuticals, but also as “radiotracers” in 3D medical imaging such as PET.
 
“This new catalyst performs the same function as the biological enzyme, but is a fraction of the size and is more widely applicable,” said Robert Paton, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry at Colorado State University who contributed to the new study.

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