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Nanodiamond-Mediated Magnetic Resonance Imaging Can Track Drug Delivery For Indefinite Period

First Posted: Apr 27, 2017 04:40 AM EDT

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the accepted gold standard for non-invasive 3-D imaging. On the one hand, it can help in diagnosis of diseases like cancer, while on the other it can track the delivery and in vivo activities of drugs. For the past many years, scientists have been trying to enhance the efficiency and applicability of MRI. High-performance ultra-low-field MRI is one such modified method that was invented in 2015, by the scientists of Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital.

Scientists are now proposing the application of nanodiamonds for obtaining high-contrast MRI images. Nanodiamonds are nanoscale synthetically prepared industrial diamonds. They have been proposed as efficient drug delivery vehicles that can be used for targeted delivery of therapeutic drugs. However, the application of these synthetic diamonds in the field of medical imaging was restricted due to the unavailability of suitable non-invasive methods for tracking and imaging them.

According to a recent published article in the Nature Communications journal, scientists have developed a new method of obtaining high-contrast images of MRI by using nanodiamonds as the source of contrast. Most conventional methods of MRI enable imaging only for a few hours after the contrast material is injected. However, the new non-invasive method developed by David Waddington and his team employs the Overhauser effect to activate the magnetic properties of the nanodiamond particles so that they can be used for imaging for prolonged time periods.

The Overhauser effect helps in amplifying the weak magnetic resonance signals. This amplification is achieved by aligning the nuclei of the nanodiamond particles, a process called hyperpolarization. Scientists believe combining Overhauser effect with high-performance ultra-low-field MRI could help in tracking the delivery and therapeutic manifestation of anticancer drugs, Phys.org reported.

According to Science Daily, the new method can also be used for making accurate diagnosis of lymph node tumors, which may further help in the treatment of chronic cases of prostate cancer. Furthermore, its increased sensitivity makes it a useful tool for imaging and estimating the permeability of the blood-brain barrier. Such highly intricate analysis will further help in clinical assessment and treatment of ischemic strokes. Doing so can be crucial in determining the overall clinical outcome of the patients.

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