Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


’Gadonanotubes’ greatly outperform existing MRI contrast agents


Placing gadolinium in DNA-sized carbon tubes boosts performance, reduces toxicity

Researchers at Rice University, the Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Houston and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland have created a new class of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents that are at least 40 times more effective than the best in clinical use.

The new agents -- dubbed gadonanotubes -- use the same highly toxic metal, gadolinium, that is given to more than a quarter of MRI patients today, but the metal atoms are encased inside a hollow tube of pure carbon called a nanotube. Shrouding the toxic metals inside the benign carbon is expected to significantly reduce or eliminate the metal’s toxicity.

The research was published this month in the journal Chemical Communications.

"In prior work, we have boosted the effectiveness of gadolinium MRI contrast agents by encasing them in spheres of carbon called buckyballs," said lead author Lon Wilson, professor of chemistry at Rice. "Each nanotube will hold more gadolinium atoms than a buckyball, so we expected them to be more effective agents. But they are actually much, much better than we anticipated, so much so that no existing theory can explain how they work."

Wilson and colleagues use short segments of nanotubes, tiny cylinders of pure carbon about one billionth of a meter, or one nanometer, in diameter. That’s about as wide as a strand of DNA. The ultrashort segments are only about 20-100 times longer than they are wide, and once inside the nanotubes, the gadolinium atoms naturally aggregate into tiny clusters of about 10 atoms each. Wilson and colleagues suspect the clustering is causing the unexplained increases in magnetic and MRI effects that they observed in tests at Rice, at the University of Houston’s Texas Center for Superconductivity, and in the Swiss laboratories.

More than 25 million patients in the U.S. undergo MRIs each year. Doctors use contrast agents in about 30 percent of MRIs. The contrast agents increase the sensitivity of the scans, making it easier for doctors to deliver a diagnosis. Gadolinium agents are the most effective agents and the most commonly used.

In the future, the researchers hope to use existing methods of attaching disease-specific antibodies and peptides to gadonanotubes so they can be targeted to cancerous tumors and other diseased cells.

Co-authors include Rice’s Balaji Sitharaman, Kyle Kissell, Keith Hartman and Lesa Tran; the University of Houston’s Andrei Baikalov, Irene Rusakova and Yanyi Sun; the Baylor College of Medicine’s Htet Khant, Steven Ludtke and Wah Chiu; and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale’s Sabrina Laus, Eva Tóth, Lothar Helm and André Merbach.

Jade Boyd | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>