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Contrast Agent R&D

The minispec family of Bruker Contrast Agent Analyzers plays a key role in characterizing and validating the properties of pharmaceuticals known as "MRI contrast agents". The agents are used to enhance contrast in Magnetic Resonance images between tissues that otherwise would be difficult to differentiate, especially in the soft tissue of the central nervous system, liver, digestive system, lymphatic system, breast, cardiovascular system, and lung.

Design of a successful contrast agent requires conflicting pharmaceutical and MRI properties to be met at once: although metal ions like Mn2+ and Gd3+ may lead to a very good contrast enhancement, they need to be chelated because the 'naked` ions are toxic. The effectiveness of a potential contrast agent is assessed by NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) relaxation studies, particularly NMR spin-lattice and spin-spin relaxation times (described by the time constants T1 and T2 , respectively).

Clinical MRI systems are certainly capable of NMR relaxation measurements, but are not the most efficient instruments for this task. Bruker`s minispec family of Contrast Agent Analyzers provide the perfect solution, since the minispec is able to match the magnetic field strength of Clinical MRI systems, at a fraction of the cost and space requirements. Many researchers have chosen to use the minispec for routine analysis, since it provides a performance advantage due to faster setup and simple single-button operation, which triggers acquisition, data processing and reporting.

Bruker is the only vendor of table-top 60 MHz and 40 MHz systems dedicated to contrast agent research. With Bruker`s range of magnet systems available between 7.5 MHz and 60 MHz, and further accessories like sample temperature control systems, full characterization of the designated contrast agent is only a step away.