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MAGNIFICO-Pre-commercialization of multifunctional targeted MRI-contrast enhancing agents for brain research

Project description

MRI contrast agents for brain diseases

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical technology that uses a magnetic field to create three-dimensional images of the structures inside the body. Despite being non-invasive, and as such, attractive for disease diagnosis, MRI suffers from poor resolution and low contrast, which render it unsuitable for studying brain diseases. Funded by the European Research Council, the MAGNIFICO project capitalises on a previously developed fluorescent-based solution that can be used for microscopy, computed tomography and MRI. This solution is expected to improve the capabilities of MRI and provide the opportunity to detect brain cells in vivo.


Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a non-damaging and non-invasive imaging modality, with the abilities to effortlessly image the entire brain at any depth. However, MRI provides images with low contrast and very poor resolution, and these are but an indirect description of features in the tissue (e.g. cells) because MRI images water protons. These aspects limit the use of MRI in pre-clinical research settings (e.g. biomedical research) to study brain diseases. Resultantly, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are constantly in search of novel methods that endow MRI with capabilities to distinguish defined biological targets for the study of brain diseases in animal models. Currently, there are no suitable solutions. We specifically address these shortcomings, and extend the capabilities of MRI, by developing an all-in-one solution. The solution consists of the synthesis of novel targeted fluorescent contrast agents suitable for light microscopy, computed tomography and MRI, and the parallel engineering of cells. When combined, cells in the brains of animals can be detected by MRI in vivo. Lastly, we provide a unique ex vivo protocol for validating the targets imaged by MRI in vivo.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 150 000,00
32000 Haifa

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
No data

Beneficiaries (1)