HYDROCHALARONE™ nanomaterial is a next generation contrast agent, under development by Roanoke, Virginia based firm Luna Innovations, that has just been successfully demonstrated as an effective MRI image enhancer in the mouse model. HYDROCHALARONE is based on the company’s proprietary TRIMETASPHERE® molecular cage construct (second picture below), a molecule formed by up to 80 carbon atoms, that is capable of encapsulating a variety of metals (Scandium, Lutetium, Holmium, Gadolinium) inside its cage.
From the press statement by Luna Innovations:
The new class of molecules discovered by Luna is called HYDROCHALARONE(TM) ( hi-dro-kal-a-rone )– Hydro, meaning water, combined with Chalaro, the Greek word for relax. The level of relaxivity is the characteristic of molecules that provides the image enhancement. “The high relaxivity in Hydrochalarone means fewer molecules are needed to obtain a better quality image,” said Robert Lenk, President of Luna’s nanoWorks division. “Our studies demonstrate that our proprietary nanomaterials do not release gadolinium under conditions which are found in the human body. Our imaging studies in mice have shown Hydrochalarone improves image quality up to 30 minutes after injection at a dose 20 times lower than that used with current agents.”
“Achieving high magnetic resonance relaxivity with a small, biologically inert, chemical moiety that can be derivatized for targeted tissue delivery, cell tracking, or inclusion as part of a nanoparticle drug delivery vehicle is a Holy Grail within the fast evolving field of biomarker development,” said Dr. Joseph Ackerman renowned MRI researcher and Chemistry Department Chairman at Washington University in St. Louis. “The design and production of Hydrochalarones by scientists at Luna nanoWorks may herald such an advance.”
Luna’s HYDROCHALARONE(TM) was selected for preclinical studies and a collaboration with National Cancer Institute’s Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL). “We hope within 12 months the NCL will provide us a complete preclinical package which will contribute to an Investigational New Drug application,” said Lenk. “The end goal of Luna’s product development effort with the Hydrochalarone is using it as a fundamental building block that will generate a portfolio of novel imaging agents targeted to reveal diagnostic information specific for a variety of different diseases, such as cancer tumors, sites of inflammation and plaque related to coronary artery diseases, as announced in our previous press release.”
Product page: Luna’s HYDROCHALARONE…
Press release: Luna Innovations Successfully Demonstrates MRI Contrast Agent…