Naga Vara Kishore Pillarsetty, PhD

Naga Vara Kishore Pillarsetty, PhD



Associate Attending

Clinical Expertise

Development and production of PET agents for clinical studies

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Contact and Location

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Memorial Sloan Kettering has locations throughout New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, and Westchester. These locations offers many services, including screening, chemotherapy, and medical testing.

About Me


PhD, University of Missouri. Columbia


Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

I am a radiochemist working in Memorial Hospital’s Department of Radiology with a focus on the synthesis and development of positron-emission tomography (PET) imaging probes. I have a PhD degree in chemistry and while a post-doctoral fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering, I developed an interest in biology. During my fellowship, I synthesized fluorine-18 and iodine-124 labeled molecules, which can act as PET probes for imaging HSV1-tk gene expression or function as a marker for proliferation, a hallmark of cancer. The information obtained from PET imaging was used to assess the biological status of the tumor cells. Since many disease states, including cancer, involve alterations in basic biological functions of the cells, information regarding these alterations can aid in diagnosis of disease and help in planning the most effective treatment. Non-invasive PET imaging is powerful technique which provides us with vital biological information which can be extremely useful in disease diagnosis and management. With this background, I became interested in development of PET/radiochemical probes which augment solving fundamental biological problems. Since this requires a multidisciplinary effort, I am extremely lucky and grateful to have colleagues who are experts in fields ranging from chemistry to radiology. We enjoy extremely fruitful collaborations and interact very closely on all aspects of research. My current research interests and collaborations include:

  • synthesis and development of fluorine-18 and iodine-124 labeled generic PET tracers for studying functional differences between tumor cells and normal cells,
  • development of radiolabeling protocols for tyrosine kinase targeted PET imaging agents,
  • using animal models to evaluate efficacy of the PET tracers, and
  • developing new radiolabeling protocols and methodologies.


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Clinical Trials

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Memorial Sloan Kettering's doctors and scientists are constantly developing new treatments for cancer. MSK is typically running hundreds of clinical trials at a given time.

You may be able to participate in a clinical trial even if you are new to MSK. Search our online directory to find trial information and see more about who can participate.

Research and Publications

Publications on PubMed

Visit PubMed for a full listing of Dr. Pillarsetty’s journal articles. Pubmed is an online index of research papers and other articles from the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.