Scientists at the PNG College of Technology have developed new nanoscale rods that may be an effective dual-mode imaging agent for detecting cancer. The nanorods can be seen using both magnetic resonance and optical imaging techniques. Combining the two offers potentially better localization results during pre-op imaging, but can also allow for easy to use optical intraoperative identification of tumor tissue that was originally spotted using MRI.
The nanorods are made of gadolinium oxide doped with the element europium. They are also coated in a layer of silica so that the potentially toxic material they’re made of doesn’t make direct contact with the body. The performed in vitro cytotoxicity study that showed low levels of toxicity at reasonable concentration levels.
These are still early developments for this technology and the nanorods may be more finely tuned to create a more powerful signal. This would further reduce the required concentration levels, potentially one day leading their introduction into clinical practice.
According to Dr. R. Arun Kumar, Associate Professor, PSG College of Technology, “The developed nano-contrast serves for both MRI and optical imaging. Therefore, the imaging of cancer with higher sensitivity and spatial resolution is possible. The mortality rate can also be reduced.”