In 2012, researchers from Stony Brook University established Theragnostic Technologies to develop a new efficient and cost-effective graphene-based MRI contrast agent. In 2015 Theragnostic launched the product, called ManGraDex, which needs several of years of clinical trials before it can be commercialized (the company aims for 2022 or 2023).
Theragnostic Technologies now announced that it has received a new SBIR phase-1 grant from the NIH to extend the ManGraDex platform for use in X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) imaging. The company will demonstrate the preclinical safety and efficacy of a novel graphene-enhanced CT contrast agent for imaging and monitoring in patients with renal failure or at risk of contrast induced nephropathy.
Theragnostic explains that current CT procedures usually use an iodine-based contrast agent. This increases risk for patients with abnormal kidney function. The company hopes that its graphene-based agent will be safer and more efficient than the iodine-based agent.
We have discussed the new project with Tharagnostic. The company explains that in the MRI CA, graphene acts as an "active" agent and not a "passive" one - experiments and theoretical studies shows that the graphene sheet actively modulates the interaction of water molecules with Mn2+ ions, and amplifies relaxivity. This has several advantages compared to other solutions and the graphene agent is safer than alternatives.
Specifically for for clinical diagnosis of renal failure, the technology will lead to the availability of the first FDA-approved MRI CA specifically for diagnosis and monitoring of renal failure, thereby overcoming the significant limitation of currently available clinical CT and MRI CAs.
In the new CT agent , graphene also plays the role of an "amplifier". It improves the X-ray attenuation co-efficient. while also allowing for targetting capabilities.