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Boosting The Signal Of Molecular Trackers To Expand The Potential Of MR

April 07, 2016

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A newly developed MR technology records biochemical interactions in real time. According to a paper published in the March 25 issue of Science Advances, a new class of molecular tags can enhance MR signals by 10,000-fold and generate long hyperpolarization signals that last an hour or more. 

Diazirines are a type of molecular tag with a long hyperpolarization lifetime and they have already been introduced into a long list of biomolecules: hormones, eplileptic drugs, antibiotics, anti-cancer agents, amino acids, lipids and proteins. The researchers were able to quickly hyperpolarize a diazirine-containing molecule, enhancing its MR signals for over an hour. Due to their widespread applicability, Theis said that diazirine tags can be considered universal and can be used to target agents for specific diseases in the future. 

The scientists have named the technology SABRE-SHEATH and they believe it is an incredibly versatile hyperpolarization modality that can be utilized with a wide variety of chemical structures at a fraction of the current cost for similar technologies. Until now, the capability of MR to track chemical transformations in the body has been limited by low sensitivity, necessitating the use of massive magnetic fields to detect small numbers of molecules. Their newly developed technique shows body chemistry in action via “boosted signals” resulting from hyperpolarization that magnifies the signal up to 10,000 times