A natural alternative to MRI agents?

Despite the prevalence of MRI in clinical practice, it still has one weakness: low sensitivity. This issue is usually combatted with agents injected into patients to achieve high spatial and temporal resolution. A team of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne researchers has discovered a natural compound that produces the same high resolution in contrast enhanced MRI, according to Science Daily’s “A Natural Boost for MRI Scans,” published Oct. 21 online.

The research team, led by Arnaud Comment, developed a solution using pyruvic acid, an organic chemical that naturally occurs in the body due to glucose breakdown. It produces the same high-quality resolution as the contrast agents that are made with highly reactive chemicals.

This discovery could cut down on both the time and cost of contrast-enhanced MRI protocols, thereby improving the overall quality of scans and diagnoses.