New dendrimer as a contrast agent in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

  • Alfonso from ICMAB-CSIC
  • From Spain
  • Responsive
  • Patents for licensing

Summary of the technology

ICMAB has developed a new dendrimer that can be used as a contrast agent (CA) in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This new CA is non-toxic and it is expelled from live tissues in hours, making it the best option when periodical MRI tests are needed.


Details of the Technology Offer

has developed a new contrast agent (CA) for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The inventors have expertise in developing new dendrimers for biological applications.

MRI is a well-known imaging technique for non-invasive medical diagnosis and follow-up. CA provides images of different tissues, tumours and related pathological conditions of the same tissue in excellent detail due to their enhanced different brightness.

The most widely used CAs are based on metal ions like gadolinium (Gd III). Gd can be considered as a toxic metal, it accumulates in some tissues (brain, bones, kidneys, etc.) and there is a relation between Gd administration and the development of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis.

The new CA is a dendrimer with proxyl radicals. It is a Gd free non-toxic molecule with high solubility in biological fluids, long term contrast activity and it is expelled in hours from live tissues without accumulating in any of them.

The characterístics of the new CA make it the ideal option when repeated MRI tests are needed.

The advantatges of the technology are:

- Metal free non-toxic CA based on a dendrimer with proxyl radicals.

- Non accumulation of CA in tissues, fastly expelled and easily degradated.

- Same contrast as Gd based CAs with 4 times less concentration.

-Allows repeated imaging studies without health negative effects.

Current development status

Laboratory prototypes


Magnetic Resonance Imaging Contrast Agent

Desired business relationship

Patent licensing

Technology development

Intellectual property status

  • Patent already applied for
  • Patent application number :EP19382708

Related Keywords

  • Electronics, IT and Telecomms
  • Electronics, Microelectronics
  • Biological Sciences
  • Medicine, Human Health
  • Diagnostics, Diagnosis
  • Biology / Biotechnology
  • Micro- and Nanotechnology related to Biological sciences
  • Imaging, Image Processing, Pattern Recognition
  • Medical Health related
  • Diagnostic
  • magnetic resonance imaging (mri)
  • dendrimer
  • contrast agent
  • magnetic resonance
  • mri


The Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona​ (ICMAB) is a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence research center which beongs to the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) and is governed by a Foundation board.

The Institute was set up in 1987 and subsequently, in April 1991, the laboratories were opened at the Campus of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). It is part of the Barcelona Nanotechnology Cluster in Bellaterra.

The aim of the institute is to carry out research aimed at obtaining and characterising materials of industrial interest. Its activities are based on the synthesis, preparation, crystallization and characterisation of functional high-performance materials and nanomaterials, which in some cases have led to the construction of device prototypes based on these materials.

Studies and improvements both of conventional materials, as well as new molecular, supramolecular, magnetic, superconducting and porous materials etc. are being developed through projects and research contracts. There are currently 9 ERC funded projects at ICMAB.

To develop these activities, at present there are 57 permanent staff among researchers and back up personnel together with 80 non-permanent staff divided into eight researgh groups, one general unit service, and one unit of Scientific and Technological Services.

In 2016 the ICMAB reached the 100.000 citations, and it is currently the first centre, among the CSIC centres, in the Nature Index. Each permanent researcher publishes close to 5 articles per year in Journals with a very high impact factor.

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