Approximately 30% of 60 million magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedures done annually worldwide use gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) to enhance the quality of images. However, clinical concerns of GBCAs in radiology is the tissue retention and deposition of gadolinium which leads to potential risks of multiple adverse events in patients. Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued new class warnings advising caution in patients with pregnancy and kidney injury for all GBCAs. The search for safer alternatives is therefore urgently needed for the development of MRI contrast agents to be used for clinical diagnosis.

Ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxides (USPIOs) with intrinsic superparamagnetic properties are emerging safer alternatives in MRI scans but technological improvements are required to allow for their clinical use. Through this project, I will bring new skills to the development of next-generation USPIOs by incorporating precisely-defined polymeric nanomedicine that will provide them with prolonged blood circulation, cell/tissue specificity and enhanced retention, in order to improve the accumulation of USPIOs at pathological sites for obtaining enhanced sensitivity/contrast in MR imaging.

Project members

Dr Ruirui Qiao

Group Leader & NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellow
Qiao Group

Dr Helen Forgham

Research Fellow
Davis Group

Xumin Huang

PhD Candidate
Qiao/Davis Group