Innovative contrast agents for more… – Information Centre – Research & Innovation

EU-funded researchers have made an progressive and ‘smart’ prototype contrast mechanism for use in healthcare imaging that could provide health professionals with vital new insights to aid diagnose injuries and ailment.

Updated on seventeen July 2020

The EU-funded CONQUER challenge targeted on boosting and expanding the flexibility of contrast brokers. These are substances that can be administered prior to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to additional plainly and exactly distinguish diverse tissues and fluids in the entire body: from muscle mass, cartilage and nerves to most cancers tumours and the movement of blood via arteries, veins and the mind.

The technology is indispensable for understanding and diagnosing ailment as effectively as creating new solutions. Nevertheless, the use of contrast mechanisms in MRI scans has been restricted for the reason that of time and price tag factors, as effectively as worries about exposure to some brokers these as these based mostly on the scarce-earth ingredient gadolinium.

The CONQUER workforce hence sought far better and smarter solutions, which include contrast brokers that can be turned on or off remotely by modifying magnetic fields in buy to make scans of diverse tissues additional specific and flexible.

‘We have provided a proof of basic principle for a new contrast mechanism that delivers two advantages. We now have the potential to swap the contrast on and off, and we use an different agent to gadolinium about which there is open up debate all over potential toxicity challenges,’ states challenge coordinator Hermann Scharfetter at Graz College of Technological innovation in Austria.

The CONQUER team’s analysis targeted on a flexible contrast technique identified as ‘quadrupole relaxation enhancement’ which is effective on the basis of how signals produced by the spins of protons within tissues decay, or ‘relax’, about time as they interact with the contrast agent. Rather of gadolinium-based mostly substances, the CONQUER workforce utilized novel bismuth-based mostly brokers.

‘We have demonstrated for the 1st time that quadrupole relaxation improvement of solvent protons by the spin of bismuth nuclei is feasible in liquids. This opens up novel avenues for more analysis in this location,’ Scharfetter states.

To assistance the use of new contrast brokers, the challenge associates also made new instruments for MRI scanners, which include novel factors that have been fitted experimentally to a medical 3T MRI scanner, and which have resulted in a patent application.

Scharfetter and his workforce are continuing analysis in the location with new assignments in the pipeline, driving ahead promising places of review targeted in distinct on optimising nanoparticles in novel contrast brokers. This ongoing work could drastically increase the capability of MRI technology to deliver a further understanding of ailment and even additional economical and exact diagnoses for sufferers.

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