- In vivo and in vitro imaging of biological systems
- Distinguishing between chemical species in living organisms (e.g. blood, proteins, lipids)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)/ magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) studies on soft-tissue anatomy, physiology, and pathology
- Selectively enhances NMR/MRI spin signals in solution without irradiating organisms at microwave frequencies
- Provides chemical contrasts without injecting organisms with harmful radioactive isotopes for x-ray imaging
- Allows for high speed protocols
Alexander Pines and colleagues at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley have enhanced NMR and MRI using hyperpolarized noble gases. These hyperpolarized gases are useful as tracers as well as agents which affect the properties of other nuclei in the sample.
The Berkeley Lab researchers have used hyperpolarized gas solutions in vitro and in vivo to study the dynamics or structure of biological systems. For example, researchers were able to rapidly distinguish between intracellular and extracellular populations of 129xenon in a red blood cell sample due to the signal enhancement obtained through the use of laser polarized xenon.
Researchers also injected a hyperpolarized xenon/ saline solution into a rats thigh muscle and obtained excellent in vivo MR images. Other research has demonstrated the feasibility of using intravenously delivered lipid solutions of hyperpolarized xenon to obtain in vivo xenon NMR spectra..
STATUS: U.S. Patent #7,385,395 B2. Available for licensing or collaborative research
REFERENCE NUMBER: IB-1168
SEE THESE OTHER BERKELEY LAB TECHNOLOGIES IN THIS FIELD: