MRI contrast agents usually contain toxic metals, a medical compromise between the benefits scans can provide and the negative effects of the substances that improve the quality of the scans. Rice University scientists have been working on overcoming this toxicity using graphene-based quantum dots that consist of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and fluorine. Additionally, because different biomarkers can probably be attached to these quantum dots, one could produce contrast agents that show up only within certain types of tissues. If this pans out to be true, it may make spotting locations of tumors considerably easier than it is now.
Graphene is an atom-thick sheet of carbon, which is essentially a 2D material. Quantum dots are microcopic, nano-scale objects that are small enough to penetrate cells and other biological items, that can be detected using various sensing technologies.
The researchers tested their graphene quantum dots for toxicity within living cells, demonstrating seemingly no side effects and pointing to their clinical safety.
From the study abstract in journal Particle & Particle Systems Characterization:
Nonfunctionalized and functionalized fluorographene systems are studied of which acid functionalized system shows greater magnetic moment. This is experimentally verified and the hysteresis and low temperature studies reveal paramagnetic behaviour. The inherent paramagnetism along with the fluorine content is utilized in its development as a dual modal agent for proton and 19F MRI.
Study in Particle & Particle Systems Characterization: Metal-Free Dual Modal Contrast Agents Based on Fluorographene Quantum Dots…
Via: Rice University…