May 23, 2024

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Imagination at work

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

EU-funded researchers have created an revolutionary and ‘smart’ prototype contrast mechanism for use in medical imaging that could give medical practitioners with critical new insights to help diagnose injury and illness.


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Up-to-date on 17 July 2020

The EU-funded CONQUER undertaking focused on maximizing and growing the flexibility of contrast agents. These are substances that can be administered prior to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to more clearly and exactly distinguish distinctive tissues and fluids in the overall body: from muscle, cartilage and nerves to most cancers tumours and the movement of blood by means of arteries, veins and the brain.

The engineering is indispensable for comprehension and diagnosing illness as properly as acquiring new treatment options. Having said that, the use of contrast mechanisms in MRI scans has been confined due to the fact of time and value factors, as properly as considerations about publicity to some agents these as all those centered on the uncommon-earth component gadolinium.

The CONQUER workforce consequently sought superior and smarter alternatives, together with contrast agents that can be turned on or off remotely by changing magnetic fields in purchase to make scans of distinctive tissues more specific and adaptable.

‘We have supplied a proof of basic principle for a new contrast mechanism that delivers two strengths. We now have the possible to change the contrast on and off, and we use an substitute agent to gadolinium about which there is open up debate close to possible toxicity problems,’ states undertaking coordinator Hermann Scharfetter at Graz University of Know-how in Austria.

The CONQUER team’s exploration focused on a adaptable contrast approach named ‘quadrupole peace enhancement’ which will work on the foundation of how signals created by the spins of protons inside of tissues decay, or ‘relax’, above time as they interact with the contrast agent. As a substitute of gadolinium-centered substances, the CONQUER workforce used novel bismuth-centered agents.

‘We have proven for the 1st time that quadrupole peace enhancement of solvent protons by the spin of bismuth nuclei is feasible in liquids. This opens up novel avenues for additional exploration in this place,’ Scharfetter states.

To assistance the use of new contrast agents, the undertaking associates also created new instruments for MRI scanners, together with novel components 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 exploration in the place with new tasks in the pipeline, driving ahead promising places of study focused in specific on optimising nanoparticles in novel contrast agents. This ongoing perform could substantially enhance the capability of MRI engineering to create a further comprehension of illness and even more successful and accurate diagnoses for patients.