Philips, Italian university to research magnetic nanoparticle contrast agents

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Philips Research and the University of Urbino in Italy will jointly research the encapsulation of magnetic nanoparticle contrast agents inside living blood cells to prolong the retention time of the agents in the blood.

Injected as free particles, magnetic nanoparticle contrast agents are quickly excreted from the blood via the patient’s liver, which limits their application, according to Philips.

The company said the patented contrast agent techniques being developed by the university are based on magnetic nanoparticles captured inside the patient’s own red blood cells, which could last as long as 120 days.

Philips said that a key feature of the university’s technology is that it could allow the preparation of relatively large volumes of contrast-agent loaded blood. The company said it will take samples of the contrast agent loaded blood and test its effectiveness in its scanners.

According to Philips, the collaboration between Philips Research and the University of Urbino will last for approximately two and a half years, with expected initial applications in the treatment of cardiovascular disease.