MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – Doctors use MRI scans every day to diagnose, monitor and treat diseases like cancer. But there are new safety concerns about a substance some people get through an IV prior to, or during the MRI.
This substance you get through an IV is known as a contrast agent and it helps doctors detect images faster and clearer.
“A contrast agent in an MRI brightens the images for what could be cancer, cardiovascular disease, or problems in the muscles or bone,” said Ramesh Marasini, a PHD Candidate for Kansas State University’s Department of Chemistry.
Now the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is saying the agents are dangerous when spread through the entire body.
“Most of them are already banned (in the E.U.), because of huge toxicity,” said Dr. Santosh Aryal, a K-State Assistant Professor of Chemistry. They are a small molecule that goes everywhere. They don’t have that GPS system, the navigating system.”
K-State’s research team is working to make the contrast agent less toxic and more targeted to the specific part of the body that’s infected. They’re also working to include medicine as part of the IV delivery.
Dr. Santosh says, “You are doing two jobs at one time. It’s carrying the drug and the contrast agent. It will go and communicate with the immune system and cooperate with drug delivery.”
The next steps for the research team are animal trials, followed by clinical trials with people.
“I think it will take maybe 3-4 years that we could plan for animal clinical trials,” says Marasini.
The medical advancements could make MRI’s safer and more effective in the future.