Fundamental Research Division
The DRF at the CEA assemble approximately 6,000 scientists since January 2016.
Scientific result | MRI
CEA Teams from the CEA-iBiTec-S and the CEA-Iramis have
developed a technique to rapidly make large quantities of probes for
xenon MRI. These specific probes are able to target a desired molecule
to be observed, such as a protein involved in a particular disease. This
on-demand functionalization, using “click chemistry” based on
cryptophane, opens new perspectives for high-precision MRI imaging.
Conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses the magnetic
properties of protons contained within the hydrogen atoms of the organism. This
non-invasive technique is certainly powerful, although it lacks sensitivity for
studies at the molecular level. Xenon MRI is a promising approach to
increase sensitivity and therefore the accuracy of the images. Unlike
conventional MRI, which detects the organism’s protons, this technique uses the
exogenous and harmless xenon atom, whose magnetic resonance signal can be
greatly amplified through hyperpolarization techniques. However, xenon is
“blind” in its native state; the idea of the researchers is thus to make small
systems enabling xenon to recognize its biological targets.
The scientists are working on caged molecules, in which xenon is
encapsulated, to easily navigate within the body. The currently proposed
molecules are constructed around a core of cryptophane; this cage-like
macromolecule is commonly synthesized to encapsulate all sorts of compounds of
interest. However, their drawback is their lack of solubility in water, which is
an obstacle to their use in a biological context.
"Clickable" hydrosoluble PEGylated cryptophane as a universal platform for 129Xe magnetic resonance imaging biosensors.
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.