New Contrast Agent Points to Tumors, Helps Identify How Aggressive They Are

Differentiating between tumor types can be very important when choosing the right tools to fight a given cancer, but contrast agents that make tumors pop on MRI scans don’t provide much info other than where the target is. That may soon be changing, as researchers at Case Western Reserve University have developed a new MRI contrast agent that spots breast cancer tumors and also points to whether they are timid or more aggressive.

The team modified a well-established contrast agent called tri-gadolinium nitride metallofullerene by attaching a peptide named ZD2 to its exterior. Tri-gadolinium nitride metallofullerene works well as a contrast agent, but the ZD2 attachment makes it stick to so-called extradomain-B fibronectin (EDB-FN) protein, found at high concentrations around aggressive tumors of a number of cancer types.

In an experiment on mice with different types of breast cancer, the new material showed up clearly around all tumors, but shone particularly prominently around the aggressive tumors.

The Case Western researchers’ next step, which they’re already working on, is to make the production process of the new contrast agent easier and cheaper before, hopefully soon, trying it on humans.

Open access study in Nature Communications: Targeted gadofullerene for sensitive magnetic resonance imaging and risk-stratification of breast cancer…

Via: Case Western…