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

Elvera Bartels

EU-funded researchers have produced an ground breaking and ‘smart’ prototype contrast mechanism for use in health care imaging that could present medical professionals with vital new insights to assist diagnose injury and disorder.


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Updated on 17 July 2020

The EU-funded CONQUER venture targeted on maximizing and expanding the flexibility of contrast agents. These are substances that can be administered prior to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to additional obviously and precisely distinguish distinct tissues and fluids in the overall body: from muscle mass, cartilage and nerves to cancer tumours and the motion of blood by means of arteries, veins and the mind.

The technological know-how is indispensable for knowledge and diagnosing disorder as perfectly as building new remedies. Even so, the use of contrast mechanisms in MRI scans has been confined simply because of time and price tag elements, as perfectly as concerns about exposure to some agents these types of as those people based mostly on the uncommon-earth element gadolinium.

The CONQUER group hence sought superior and smarter options, which include contrast agents that can be turned on or off remotely by altering magnetic fields in get to make scans of distinct tissues additional precise and adaptable.

‘We have supplied a evidence of theory for a new contrast mechanism that features two positive aspects. We now have the possible to swap the contrast on and off, and we use an different agent to gadolinium about which there is open debate about possible toxicity troubles,’ suggests venture coordinator Hermann Scharfetter at Graz University of Know-how in Austria.

The CONQUER team’s investigate targeted on a adaptable contrast system called ‘quadrupole peace enhancement’ which is effective on the foundation of how alerts created by the spins of protons within tissues decay, or ‘relax’, more than time as they interact with the contrast agent. As a substitute of gadolinium-based mostly substances, the CONQUER group used novel bismuth-based mostly agents.

‘We have established for the initial time that quadrupole peace enhancement of solvent protons by the spin of bismuth nuclei is doable in liquids. This opens up novel avenues for more investigate in this space,’ Scharfetter suggests.

To assist the use of new contrast agents, the venture companions also produced new applications for MRI scanners, which include novel components that have been equipped experimentally to a clinical 3T MRI scanner, and which have resulted in a patent software.

Scharfetter and his group are continuing investigate in the space with new jobs in the pipeline, driving forward promising areas of study targeted in particular on optimising nanoparticles in novel contrast agents. This ongoing function could substantially enrich the ability of MRI technological know-how to generate a deeper knowledge of disorder and even additional effective and exact diagnoses for clients.

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