New nanoparticle could improve MRI scanning for cancer diagnosis

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A research team based at the Imperial College London, England, has created a new, self-assembling nanoparticle that can increase the effectiveness of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) cancer detection. 

The surface of this new nanoparticle is coated with a protein which is designed to react to tumor signals. When interaction with a tumor occurs, the protein coating is stripped away and the nanoparticle then self-assembles into a much larger form, more visible on a MRI scan. The enlarged nanoparticle can aid oncologists in detecting cancer in the earlier stages. The enlarged nanoparticle, which grew from 100 to 800 nanometres has been determined to still be small enough itself not to cause harm (which might have been the case had its final size been too big).

Professor Nicholas Long, of the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College London, has stated that added refinements are being explored to increase visibility further, such as adding an optical signal that would cause the nanoparticle to glow when encountering a tumor target. They also hope to reduce the final size of the nanoparticle further.

The results of this study were published in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

New nanoparticle could improve MRI scanning for cancer diagnosis
New nanoparticle could improve MRI scanning for cancer diagnosis
Scientists have designed a new self-assembling nanoparticle that targets tumours, to help doctors diagnose cancer earlier. The new nanoparticle, developed by researchers at Imperial College London, boosts the effectiveness of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanning by specifically seeking out receptors that are found in cancerous cells.
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