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

EU-funded scientists have created an impressive and ‘smart’ prototype contrast mechanism for use in clinical imaging that could give medical practitioners with critical new insights to help diagnose damage and ailment.

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Current on 17 July 2020

The EU-funded CONQUER undertaking centered on maximizing and increasing the flexibility of contrast agents. These are substances that can be administered prior to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to far more evidently and exactly distinguish diverse tissues and fluids in the body: from muscle mass, cartilage and nerves to cancer tumours and the motion of blood by way of arteries, veins and the brain.

The technological innovation is indispensable for knowing and diagnosing ailment as properly as establishing new solutions. However, the use of contrast mechanisms in MRI scans has been minimal because of time and price tag components, as properly as worries about publicity to some agents such as those people primarily based on the exceptional-earth ingredient gadolinium.

The CONQUER workforce for that reason sought much better and smarter possibilities, including contrast agents that can be turned on or off remotely by adjusting magnetic fields in get to make scans of diverse tissues far more exact and versatile.

‘We have furnished a proof of basic principle for a new contrast mechanism that offers two strengths. We now have the probable to swap the contrast on and off, and we use an alternate agent to gadolinium about which there is open discussion all around probable toxicity issues,’ says undertaking coordinator Hermann Scharfetter at Graz College of Technological innovation in Austria.

The CONQUER team’s analysis centered on a versatile contrast procedure called ‘quadrupole leisure enhancement’ which performs on the basis of how signals produced by the spins of protons inside tissues decay, or ‘relax’, in excess of time as they interact with the contrast agent. Alternatively of gadolinium-primarily based substances, the CONQUER workforce applied novel bismuth-primarily based agents.

‘We have established for the to start with time that quadrupole leisure improvement of solvent protons by the spin of bismuth nuclei is doable in liquids. This opens up novel avenues for additional analysis in this area,’ Scharfetter says.

To assist the use of new contrast agents, the undertaking associates also created new instruments for MRI scanners, including novel parts that have been fitted experimentally to a scientific 3T MRI scanner, and which have resulted in a patent application.

Scharfetter and his workforce are continuing analysis in the area with new tasks in the pipeline, driving ahead promising locations of examine centered in distinct on optimising nanoparticles in novel contrast agents. This ongoing work could noticeably improve the skill of MRI technological innovation to crank out a further knowing of ailment and even far more economical and correct diagnoses for individuals.