York Researchers Develop Safer Medical Imaging Technique

A new method for transferring magnetic spin from parahydrogen, a molecule most notably used for fuelling the space shuttle, has been developed by York University researchers. The new medical imaging technique discloses biological processes in the body without exposing patients to harmful radiation, allowing doctors to spot tumours or signs of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s, earlier. The technology is currently possible with nuclear medicine imaging techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET) where a patient is injected with a radioactive ‘tracer’ material that mimics a biologically active molecule in the body such as glucose. The technique will require patients who are only injected with contrast material endogenous to the body such as amino acids. Detectors can be integrated into a wearable shirt that patients could slip on for a scan.


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