With nanodiamond the tumor tissue can be detected sooner and distinguished better from the healthy surrounding tissue. Aiming at an improvement of the MRI procedure in the joint project »DiaPol« Fraunhofer IAF cooperates with the University of Ulm, the company NVision Imaging Technologies GmbH, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Israeli Center for Advanced Diamond Technologies (ICDAT). The novel technology offers great opportunities: the extremely precise and quickly available results make it possible to adjust the treatment of the tumor tissue to the patient in a significantly more efficient way than it has ever been possible with previous methods.
It’s the uncertainty that frightens us most: Cancer. According to a report by the Robert Koch Institute from 2016, the absolute number of new cases in Germany has almost doubled since the early 1970s. Time is a crucial factor, as an early and accurate diagnosis can save lives. During the past decades the methods to detect suspicious tissue in the body have continuously become more precise. Magnetic resonance imaging is particularly gentle and efficient for patients because it works without any harmful chemicals or radioactive substances. MRI can also create three-dimensional, detailed cross-sections of the human tissue.
Classical MRI uses magnetic fields in order to produce high-resolution images. A human body is composed of 70 percent water. Each water molecule contains two hydrogen atoms with magnetic nuclei. The magnetic fields in these nuclei are generated by nuclear spins. A so-called polarisator can be used in order to amplify and adjust the tiny magnetic fields of these spins. The better the spins are adjusted, the stronger is the MRI’s signal and the more accurate the results. By adding high frequency pulses, certain atomic nuclei in the human body are excited resonantly, which can be measured as an electrical signal. A program subsequently translates the signals into high-resolution, three-dimensional images.
10,000 times more sensitive thanks to diamond-based polarizers
For the novel MRI procedure, the researchers combine the classical method with a nanodiamond polarisator. Built-in nitrogen vacancy centers in a diamond play an important role in the polarizer of the innovative process: the electron spins in these centers generate magnetic fields that can be transmitted to other nuclear spins, and thus adjust them (»polarize« them). This procedure hyperpolarizes the nanodiamonds or external molecules. They can then be injected into the human body before the MRI scan, which significantly increases the imaging sensitivity. As an expert in the field of diamond nanotechnology, Fraunhofer IAF is involved in this part of the project.
»Our tasks are the diamond’s optimization on the nanoscale and the incorporation of the nitrogen vacancy centers«, explains Dr. Verena Zürbig from Fraunhofer IAF. The project coordinator and group leader for »Diamond Technology« is convinced: »Compared to the conventional procedure, the diamond polarizers will significantly increase the MRI’s sensitivity.« The company NVision sees great prospect in the new procedure: »Not only could it become possible to diagnose cancer early, but also to identify the cancer cell’s exact stage.«
Diamond as a material has some unbeatable advantages. For example, the hyperpolarization with diamond can be achieved at room temperature, thus enabling a much faster and cost-efficient method in comparison to conventional procedures, which still require very low temperatures. One of the project’s sub-goals is the construction of extremely small, flexible and mobile diamond polarizers. This innovation enables fast analyzing and shortens the time for patients waiting for their results from several weeks to a few days. By providing more precise measurements and a corresponding improved treatment, the project hopes to bring relief to patients often struggling with the uncertainty and fear caused by cancer.
Technical terms briefly explained:
Nuclear spin: The momentum of a proton around its own center of gravity.
MRI: Short for »Magnetic Resonance Tomography«.
Polarization: Increases the nuclear magnetization and thus the intensity of the signal in an MRI.
Hyperpolarization: The ordered alignment of nuclear spins well beyond thermal equilibrium.
Laura Hau | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Festkörperphysik IAF
Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled
24.04.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology
Scientists generate an atlas of the human genome using stem cells
24.04.2018 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
24.04.2018 | Information Technology
24.04.2018 | Earth Sciences
24.04.2018 | Life Sciences