Smart magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents: From early detection to assessment of drug delivery mechanisms (2011–2014)
Chronic diseases such as cancer can be highly debilitating, are a significant burden to the healthcare system and result in the death of millions per year worldwide. Early detection and treatment is widely recognized as a way forward to reduce the mortality rate. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is routinely used in the diagnosis and staging of cancer. However, its low sensitivity requires that contrast agents be used to increase the sensitivity required for early detection. This program will develop 'smart' MRI contrast agents that can be triggered by biochemical markers for disease, such as enzymes. In combination with targeted delivery this technology has the potential to facilitate early detection and diagnosis of cancer.