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

EU-funded scientists have designed an innovative and ‘smart’ prototype contrast system for use in healthcare imaging that could supply medical practitioners with critical new insights to assistance diagnose harm and illness.

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Updated on 17 July 2020

The EU-funded CONQUER task targeted on boosting and increasing the versatility of contrast agents. These are substances that can be administered prior to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to much more obviously and specifically distinguish distinctive tissues and fluids in the body: from muscle mass, cartilage and nerves to cancer tumours and the movement of blood by means of arteries, veins and the mind.

The technological know-how is indispensable for comprehending and diagnosing illness as nicely as building new therapies. Nevertheless, the use of contrast mechanisms in MRI scans has been limited because of time and cost components, as nicely as concerns about publicity to some agents this sort of as those dependent on the uncommon-earth factor gadolinium.

The CONQUER crew therefore sought better and smarter alternatives, such as contrast agents that can be turned on or off remotely by changing magnetic fields in order to make scans of distinctive tissues much more precise and multipurpose.

‘We have offered a proof of principle for a new contrast system that presents two positive aspects. We now have the opportunity to swap the contrast on and off, and we use an substitute agent to gadolinium about which there is open up discussion all around opportunity toxicity concerns,’ claims task coordinator Hermann Scharfetter at Graz University of Technologies in Austria.

The CONQUER team’s investigation targeted on a multipurpose contrast approach termed ‘quadrupole peace enhancement’ which will work on the foundation of how alerts created by the spins of protons inside of tissues decay, or ‘relax’, in excess of time as they interact with the contrast agent. As an alternative of gadolinium-dependent substances, the CONQUER crew applied novel bismuth-dependent agents.

‘We have confirmed for the to start with time that quadrupole peace enhancement of solvent protons by the spin of bismuth nuclei is possible in liquids. This opens up novel avenues for additional investigation in this spot,’ Scharfetter claims.

To support the use of new contrast agents, the task associates also designed new equipment for MRI scanners, such as novel parts that have been equipped experimentally to a medical 3T MRI scanner, and which have resulted in a patent software.

Scharfetter and his crew are continuing investigation in the spot with new tasks in the pipeline, driving ahead promising places of research targeted in individual on optimising nanoparticles in novel contrast agents. This ongoing get the job done could significantly enrich the capability of MRI technological know-how to create a deeper comprehending of illness and even much more effective and precise diagnoses for individuals.