SBIR Phase I: Biocompatible tracers optimized for Magnetic Particle Imaging

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1215556
Agency Tracking Number: 1215556
Amount: $149,998.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2012
Solicitation Topic Code: NM
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
5813 MCKINLEY PLACE N, SEATTLE, WA, 98103-5710
DUNS: 962761842
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Richard Matthew Ferguson
 (206) 949-6867
 mferg47@uw.edu
Business Contact
 Richard Matthew Ferguson
Phone: (206) 949-6867
Email: mferg47@uw.edu
Research Institution
 Stub
Abstract
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project addresses a fundamental problem with Magnetic Particle Imaging, a promising, yet new imaging modality. MPI uses magnetic nanoparticles (tracers) to generate a signal that can be used for fast, safe, non-invasive 3D imaging in living patients. The problem relates to the magnetic tracers: there are no existing commercial tracers that are suitable for MPI, due partly to a fundamental lack of control over the physical and magnetic properties of tracers when using existing methods of production. We have addressed this problem by identifying the desired tracer properties for any MPI imaging system and developing a method to produce particles with controlled/tailored properties. The proposed research is designed to further improve the performance of our product, both to fine-tune its physical characteristics and improve its stability in a biological environment. We will improve the stability and performance of our tracer agent by developing a new process for encapsulating the magnetic particles with a biocompatible shell. We will also further improve the performance by developing a novel filtering system to isolate desirable tracers based specifically on their suitability for MPI, as determined by their magnetic relaxation. The broader impact/commercial potential of this proposed project is an enabling technology for MPI. The goal is to develop a high performance solution that can make clinical MPI commercially viable. MPI using safe iron oxide tracers could reduce patient morbidity during the course of treatment for cardiovascular disease, where current imaging methods like x-ray angiography rely heavily on the use of iodinated contrast media even though they may cause nephrogenic systemic fibrosis in patients, especially those with chronic kidney disease. MPI with targeted tracer probes, also offers significant promise for cancer diagnosis and therapy, with outstanding signal to noise ratio and almost perfect contrast (tissue is diamagnetic and generates no signal in MPI). Finally, the projected commercial impact of MPI is significant: billions of dollars are spent on medical imaging tracers each year, with iodine the most commonly used tracer. Ultimately, MPI, which would circumvent a known hazard in iodine contrast agents, has the potential to generate billions in tracer sales.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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