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September 25th, 2008
Researchers at the University of Urbino have developed a way to encapsulate magnetic nanoparticles inside blood cells, resulting in a more effective contrast agent for medical imaging.
Contrast agents are compounds that are used to increase the visibility of internal organs, blood vessels or tissue in the images generated by medical scanners. By doing so, they can help radiologists determine the presence and extent of a given disease.
At the present time, magnetic nanoparticle contrast agents are quickly excreted from the blood via the patient's liver, limiting their application.
But since the new magnetic nanoparticles developed at the University of Urbin are captured inside the patient's own red blood cells, they remain protected from the body's excretion mechanisms for as long as 120 days, the typical lifetime of healthy red blood cells.
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