Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the most powerful tools for clinical diagnosis but its performance depends on that of contrast agents. Researchers from the Laboratory of biomolecules the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne and the Institute for Analytical Sciences has prepared a new generation of contrast agents increasing their sensitivity by a factor of around 10 000. They have a very long life and can be delivered remotely. These results were published in the journal Nature Communications.

Magnetic resonance

MRI relies on the measurement of the resonance magnetic molecules in biological systems placed in a magnetic field. Unfortunately, the magnetism of these molecules is very low times normal. Hyper polarization consists in preparing solutions of molecules in a strongly magnetized state, which makes it possible to increase the sensitivity of the detection. With this technique, the real-time detection of tumors in vivo imaging has become a reality.

The major problem of hyperactive polarization is that the contrast agents used have magnetic properties short lifetimes a minute. Today only a few imaging centers in the world are equipped to achieve hyperactive polarization. The new approach developed at the point by the team of researchers from the Institute for Analytical Sciences helped prepare the way of contrast agents to lengthen the life of hyperpolarized magnetic states of the minute to ten hours. The principle, of great simplicity, lies in a combination of original new methods of transferring polarization and innovative formulations samples.

This advance is the first step towards democratization of hyperactive polarization for all by expanding the number of centers could benefit from this technique. The long-term vision of being able to prepare remotely contrast agents available on request to centers of medical imaging wishing to increase the sensitivity of their actions by factors of about 10 000.