Mon. Nov 18th, 2019

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A new protein MRI contrast agent helps detect early signs and stages of chronic liver diseases

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Chronic liver disease (CLD) and cirrhosis account for 2 million deaths worldwide each year and mortality rates are on the rise. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and alcoholic liver disease are together responsible for most cases of chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer.

Unfortunately, chronic liver disease is a slow advancing condition and often diagnosed in its latest stages.

But new research may soon change this thanks to a revolutionary new method.

The researchers improved a safer and more sensitive contrast dye than the conventional contrast agents MRI scans use.

This new substance, called ProCA32.collagen1, may provide the first effective,

noninvasive method for detecting and diagnosing early-stage liver diseases, including liver fibrosis.


ProCA32.collagen1detects the overexpression of collagen, which is a biomarker of liver disease and can also binds closely with gadolinium,

a contrast metal that MRI scans routinely use.


The novel method has been tested in mice with liver fibrosis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and researchers suggested that it could detect these conditions twice as effective as conventional contrast dyes

and also could be able to detect tumors that were 100 times smaller than those detected by currently-approved contrast agents.

Furthermore , this new dye reduces the risk of metal toxicity because it requires a significantly lower dosage than standard ones.

Further advances in contrast agents field have the potential to highly facilitate non-invasive,

early detection and staging of primary and metastatic liver cancers, and devising efficient treatments.


Dr. Nora Khalil

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