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Hyperpolarized contrast agents for MRI with long relaxation times

When the nuclear orientation of a material is hyperpolarized by techniques such as dynamic nuclear polarization, these materials can function as extremely effective contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In most cases, however, the spin relaxation time (known as the T1 time) is rapid (nanoseconds to a few seconds) and the technique of hyperpolarization is therefore not particularly useful - by the time the contrast agent is introduced into the system of interest (for instance, a person's body), the polarization is lost and only a small residual polarization remains.

This invention are nanoparticles with extremely long spin relaxation times which can be used as an MRI contrast agents. Furthermore, they can be attach to macromolecules including antibodies to be tracked within the body. Thus this technology, which involves novel nanoparticle MRI contrast agents that enable MRI imaging at high resolution, can aid companies who need to track drug effectiveness as well as MRI facilities, hospitals and physicians who seek to diagnose and treat specific diseases through molecular imaging. 

Advantages:  

  • MRI image resolutions rivaling those of PET scans 

  • Nonradioactive, non-toxic, inert, and high biological compatibility

  • Lower cost production, transport, and storage (compared to radiopharmaceuticals)

  • Drop in use with conventional MRI machines

Intellectual Property Status: U.S. Patent(s) Issued: US20090214433

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