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Scientists develop smarter MRI technology

All News 01:00 February 07, 2017

SEOUL, Feb. 7 (Yonhap) -- A group of South Korean scientists discovered a new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) platform that selectively finds diseased cells, the state-run research center said Tuesday, a development that could overcome the limits of the current MRI technology.

The team led by Cheon Jin-woo at the Center for Nanomedicine under the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) developed the so-called "nano MRI lamp" which activates MRI signals only in the presence of the disease target.

"This study can overcome the limitations of existing MRI contrast agents," Cheon said in a press release, adding that the discovery would open a new gateway in non-invasive MRI technology in diagnosing various diseases.

The new technology consists of two magnetic materials. When the two materials are at a critical distance such as further than 7 nanometers, the signal is on. However, when the two are placed closer than 7 nanometers, the MRI signal is off.

The team said it has named this phenomenon as "Magnetic REsonance Tuning (MRET)."

"The current contrast agent is like using a flashlight on a sunny day and its effect is limited. This new technology, instead, is like using a flash light at night and it is more useful," Cheon said.

The researchers said they have tested the nano MRI lamp for cancer diagnosis and detected the presence of an enzyme that can induce tumors.

The findings were published in the journal "Nature Materials."

(Photo courtesy of the Institute for Basic Science) (Yonhap)


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