Development of a contrast agent to improve accuracy in the diagnosis of stroke
i3S, Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde da Universidade do Porto, Portugal
Computed tomography (CT) is the gold standard imaging technique used to diagnose stroke. However, diagnostic errors are not uncommon. In fact, it is estimated that current technology can generate up to 30 % false negatives, even when using high doses of the contrast agents currently available in the clinic.
The project team proposes an innovative contrast agent that reveals anatomical brain structures more effectively by increasing the contrast of CT images. It is a biologically safe compound based on biodegradable dendrimers (developed and patented by the team), a type of macromolecule with a spherical and highly branched structure. These dendrimers have the ability to access the brain by crossing the blood-brain barrier and can carry multiple iodinated contrast molecules, resulting in an amplified dendritic contrast agent with the potential to increase the contrast of CT images 27 times compared the agents currently in use. This project will advance the development of this contrast agent and evaluate its efficacy and safety in an animal model of stroke.
This new contrast agent is expected to provide higher-definition computed tomography images of the brain, thereby improving test sensitivity and helping to avoid serious consequences in cases of under-diagnosed strokes. Furthermore, since it is a versatile technology, it could also be applied in the future to improve the diagnosis of other pathologies, such as cancer, where higher definition CT images may allow for a more accurate diagnosis.
Smart dendritic contrast agent for accurate stroke diagnosis by computed tomography