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Dr. Linda Pauliks Miller Children's & Women's Hospital Long Beach name medical director of pediatric & congenital cardiac imaging

Study finds MR detects 98 percent of pregnancy-related breast cancers May also inform surgical management of disease

Radiology Partners to acquire Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Joining with SDI 'represents about a 25 percent increase' in RP's size

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PET/MR scans can assess pediatric cancer survivor health Study targets chemotherapy after-effects in young patients

New guidelines advise against the use of brain imaging to diagnose chronic pain Researchers continue to look for brain-based biomarkers

FDA approves sale of SyMRI IMAGE software for GE Healthcare MR scanners Reduces scan times

FDA panel: Add retention warning to gadolinium contrast agents MIDAC also votes to increase studies conducted by contrast manufacturers

Study finds MR can measure kidney scarring and predict future kidney function Could also test new anti-scarring treatments

Resilience Capital Partners acquires three medical device service and manufacturing companies Forms Innovatus Imaging Corporation

Gadolinium nanoparticles biomineralized
in transferrin proteins

Image courtesy of Nano Letters

Researchers create tumor-targeting MR contrast agent using human proteins

Lauren Dubinsky , Senior Reporter
Because gadolinium-based contrast agents have been shown to be retained in the brain, the industry has been on a quest to find a viable alternative.

A human protein-based tumor-targeting MR contrast agent that can be easily cleared by the body may be what they’ve been looking for.

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A team led by Gang Han, associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, designed this new contrast agent and found that it holds promise for clinical application. He told HCB News that to the best of his knowledge, it’s the first human protein-based MR contrast.

Sugar has also been investigated as a potential alternative to gadolinium. Research published in Tomography in January and Radiology last month demonstrated that sugar can be used as an MR contrast agent to detect tumors.

Han’s team focused on proteins because they are naturally-occurring nanomaterials. The protein-bound nanoparticle Abraxane, for example, can be used to treat metastatic breast cancer, and protein scaffolds can improve the effectiveness of contrast agents.

In a paper published last month in Nano Letters, Han and his colleagues explained how they created a protein-based contrast agent. They used human transferrin (Tf) proteins to mimic the natural process of forming special nanoparticles called gadolinium biomineralized human Tf protein-based nanoparticles (Gd@TfNP).

The Gd@TfNPs preserve the functions of Tf very well, have superior chemical and physical properties and are brighter, compared to the gadolinium-based agents currently in use, said Han.

Because of that, Gd@TfNPs can be used as systemically clearable contrast agents for detecting early-stage tumors with MR. They can also be used to optimize drug dose and evaluate clinical results.

“This patent of this technology has been submitted,” said Han. “There is already some industry interest since this paper was published.”

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