Three-in-one imaging technology developed

Tuesday, 29 June, 2021

Three-in-one imaging technology developed

A new imaging technology combines magnetic particle imaging (MPI) with computed tomography (CT) and hyperthermia capabilities for preclinical, in vivo research. Funded through an ARC LIEF grant with contributions from Monash University and RMIT University, the technology can be found at the Monash Alfred campus and is operated by the Alfred Research Alliance-Monash Biomedical Imaging (ARA-MBI) facility.

The preclinical Momentum MPI system, developed by Magnetic Insight, is claimed to be the world’s first MPI system with CT and hyperthermia capabilities. The technology quantitatively detects magnetic nanoparticles anywhere in the body with high sensitivity, enabling researchers the ability to track the nanoparticles in vivo, where they can bind to particular cells of interest. Using the same in vivo living subject, the hyperthermia technology can then define an area with pinpoint accuracy and induce localised heating in this area up to a desired therapeutic temperature designed to kill the cells that have been bound with the nanoparticles.

“MPI and targeted hyperthermia are seen as the most promising new developments in the non-invasive diagnostic imaging and therapy field in decades as it combines the non-invasive nature of MRI with the sensitivity of PET, thereby unifying the best from two mainstream clinical modalities,” said Associate Professor Christoph Hagemeyer from Monash University.

The Magnetic Insight system is said to offer the world’s highest sensitivity and resolution of MPI images. It is simple to operate, eliminating the need for a dedicated scanner operator and allowing researchers to acquire their own data. It also avoids the radiation burden of PET, and when used without CT removes the X-ray dose. Its capabilities can also monitor chemotherapy treatments and enhance their efficacy with the addition of targeted heating. This is particularly useful as just 0.01% of chemotherapy currently reaches the cancer tissue, so it is so important to boost the potency of the drugs reaching the target.

Monash and its collaborators have been described as world leaders in advanced nanoparticle fabrication, which is critical to MPI reaching its full potential. This is because MPI resolution and sensitivity are driven as much by the magnetic tracer’s properties as by the imaging hardware. The ARA-MBI facility will be used to develop specialised iron oxide nanoparticles with high MPI sensitivity and responsiveness, enabling new opportunities for research in critical research fields such as vaccine technology development.

Dr Patrick Goodwill, co-founder and CEO of Magnetic Insight, concluded, “We have been working with TrendBio (an Australian SME) to deliver and support this groundbreaking technology, and we are excited to see the outcomes that Monash researchers will deliver.”

Image caption: Dr Karen Alt with the magnetic particle imaging equipment.

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