Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging: MetaboliQs Project breakthrough

Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging: MetaboliQs Project breakthrough
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The MetaboliQs project combines diamond-based quantum sensing and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging fostering molecular understanding & personalised care.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) methods have been used widely in past decades as a safe, non-invasive and non-radioactive method of diagnosing cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). However, because of their limited sensitivity, even the most expensive MRI scanners, with the strongest magnets, cannot detect and visualise molecular and metabolic activity in the heart with enough sensitivity and specificity. To this end, emerging hyperpolarized MRI techniques play a pivotal role as they allow increasing the sensitivity of MRI by up to five orders of magnitude. The MetaboliQs project therefore aims to enable a new method for cardiac magnetic resonance imaging by leveraging new advances in quantum physics.

Personalised treatments using quantum physics

Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death globally, more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause. Currently, despite significant advances in diagnostics and therapeutics, several areas of important unmet needs remain unaddressed.

The ability to personalise cardiovascular medical care and improve outcomes will require characterisation of the heart, other organs and the characterisation of tumours at the molecular level.

The method, termed ‘Hyperpolarized MRI’, will allow imaging and visualisation of key metabolic substrates in the heart and other organs, such as the kidney, liver, via hyperpolarization of nuclear spins of substrates that are natural to the body and non-toxic.

From doing so, several important metabolic reactions can be tracked non-invasively. This breakthrough technology will enable a previously unachievable, highly sensitive quantification of metabolic activity, paving the way for precision diagnostics and better personalized treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging

The MetaboliQs project is aiming to leverage the transformative features of diamond nitrogen vacancies (NV), such as high quantum coherence and quantum control, to offer a breakthrough in Cardiac Hyperpolarized MRI.

This form of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging is essentially a low cost and high-throughput diamond polarizer that can be used with any MRI scanner and present results within minutes instead of hours per procedure.

Such an innovative use of quantum coherence is made possible by new technology to atomically engineer diamond material (quantum-grade diamond), including 12C isotopic purification, precise control of nitrogen defect concentration and nanofabrication of the diamond surface.

The MetaboliQs project

The MetaboliQs association, through its combination of leading research institutes and innovative companies, provides the end-to-end expertise required to reach the ambitious objectives of the project and develop breakthrough capabilities in hyperpolarized MRI for cardiovascular applications.

The goal of the project is to fundamentally develop and produce nanodiamonds with nitrogen vacancy centers for faster and better hyperpolarization, along with the development of a diamond based polarizer for preclinical experiments in the field of cardiovascular diseases.

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