We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content and advertising. To learn more, click here. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies. Cookie Policy.

Features Partner Sites Information LinkXpress
Sign In
Advertise with Us
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING LLC

Download Mobile App




Diamond Dust Could Offer New Contrast Agent Option for Future MRI Scans

By MedImaging International staff writers
Posted on 29 Apr 2024
Print article
Image: Diamond dust offers a potential alternative to the widely used contrast agent gadolinium in MRI (Photo courtesy of Max Planck Institute)
Image: Diamond dust offers a potential alternative to the widely used contrast agent gadolinium in MRI (Photo courtesy of Max Planck Institute)

Gadolinium, a heavy metal used for over three decades as a contrast agent in medical imaging, enhances the clarity of MRI scans by highlighting affected areas. Despite its utility, gadolinium not only accumulates in targeted tumor tissues but also disperses into surrounding healthy tissues, where it can remain for months to years, particularly in the brain and kidneys. The long-term impacts of this retention are still unclear, and gadolinium is known to cause several side effects. Consequently, the medical field has long been in search of a safer alternative. Now, an unexpected discovery made in a laboratory suggests that diamond dust, a carbon-based material, might serve as a viable, more tolerable substitute for gadolinium.

This breakthrough was achieved at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (Stuttgart, Germany), where researchers initially used nanometer-sized diamond particles for an entirely different experimental purpose. To their surprise, these diamond particles exhibited unexpected brightness in an MRI experiment, shining even more brightly than the actual contrast agent, gadolinium. The experiment involved encapsulating 3 to 5-nanometer diamond particles in tiny drug-delivery capsules made of gelatin that were designed to burst upon heating, leveraging diamond dust's high heat capacity to trigger this reaction. Initially, the researchers included gadolinium to monitor the location of the diamond particles, intending to see if the diamond-enhanced capsules would heat more efficiently. However, they encountered issues with gadolinium leakage from the gelatin, similar to how it would leak out of the bloodstream into patient tissues during clinical use.

Upon deciding to proceed without gadolinium, they observed that the capsules still appeared surprisingly bright in the MRI images, indicating that the diamond dust could have better signal-enhancing properties than gadolinium. They found that, unlike gadolinium which diffuses everywhere, the diamond nanoparticles remained in the blood vessels, did not leak out, and later shone brightly in the MRI, similar to how they had in the gelatin capsules. Given these promising results, the researchers are optimistic about the potential of diamond dust in MRI applications. If further studies confirm its safety and efficacy, diamond dust could emerge as a groundbreaking contrast agent in future MRI procedures, offering a safer alternative to gadolinium.

“Why the diamond dust shines bright in our MRI still remains a mystery to us,” said Dr. Jelena Lazovic Zinnanti, a research scientist, who heads the Central Scientific Facility Medical Systems at MPI-IS. “I think the tiny particles have carbons that are slightly paramagnetic. The particles may have a defect in their crystal lattice, making them slightly magnetic. That’s why they behave like a T1 contrast agent such as gadolinium. Additionally, we don’t know whether diamond dust could potentially be toxic, something that needs to be carefully examined in the future.”

Related Links:
Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems


Print article
Radcal

Channels

Radiography

view channel
Image: Physicians using the Zenition 90 Motorized mobile X-ray system (Photo courtesy of Royal Philips)

High-Powered Motorized Mobile C-Arm Delivers State-Of-The-Art Images for Challenging Procedures

During complex surgical procedures, clinicians depend on surgical imaging systems as they navigate challenging anatomy to quickly visualize small anatomical details while minimizing X-ray exposure.... Read more

Ultrasound

view channel
Image: The device creates microbubbles that temporarily disrupt the BBB, permitting the entry of immunotherapy into the brain (Photo courtesy of Northwestern)

Ultrasound Technology Breaks Blood-Brain Barrier for Glioblastoma Treatment

Despite extensive molecular studies, the outlook for patients diagnosed with the aggressive brain cancer known as glioblastoma (GBM) continues to be poor. This is partly due to the blood-brain barrier... Read more

Nuclear Medicine

view channel
Image: 68Ga-NC-BCH whole-body PET imaging rapidly targets an important gastrointestinal cancer biomarker in lesions in GI cancer patients (Photo courtesy of Qi, Guo, et al.; doi.org/10.2967/jnumed.123.267110)

New PET Radiotracer Enables Same-Day Imaging of Key Gastrointestinal Cancer Biomarker

Gastrointestinal cancers rank among the most prevalent cancers worldwide, contributing to over a quarter of all cancer cases and over one-third of cancer-related deaths annually. The initial symptoms of... Read more

General/Advanced Imaging

view channel
Image: The denoised image is less noisy and the defect is more detectable and visually clearer with DEMIST (Photo courtesy of Abhinav Jha/WUSTL)

Artificial Intelligence Tool Enhances Usability of Medical Images

Doctors use myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) images to evaluate blood flow to the heart muscle. To capture these images, patients are administered a... Read more

Imaging IT

view channel
Image: The new Medical Imaging Suite makes healthcare imaging data more accessible, interoperable and useful (Photo courtesy of Google Cloud)

New Google Cloud Medical Imaging Suite Makes Imaging Healthcare Data More Accessible

Medical imaging is a critical tool used to diagnose patients, and there are billions of medical images scanned globally each year. Imaging data accounts for about 90% of all healthcare data1 and, until... Read more
Copyright © 2000-2024 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.