RS2D successfully applied and was selected for a FETOpen project (2019-2022) focusing on Hyperpolarized MR technologies and molecular probes as alternatives for conventional metal-containing contrasts agents. It’s a three-year collaborative research project that brings together highly experienced engineers, physicists, chemists and radiologists to develop a radically new and innovative contrasts agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The specific aims AlternativesToGd are:

  • Development of unique hyperpolarised agents via dissolution-dynamic nuclear polarisation (dDNP) and administration routes that produce long lasting and intense signal in the blood pool
  • Development of hyperpolarised small-molecules for biomedical imaging using parahydrogen-induced hyperpolarisation (PHIP)
  • Development of new hyperpolarisation techniques based on optical or DNP irradiation of nano-diamonds
  • Development of tailored MRI tools for optimal observation of the hyperpolarised agents in vivo


Although the project aims at finding at least one replacement for the standard Gd contrast agent used today, by exploring a variety of molecules, methods and hyperpolarization techniques, there is a potential to combine these and administer a “cocktail” comprised of two or more hyperpolarised molecules. By looking to a “cocktail solution” there is a potential to optimize the decay time and biodistribution properties to enable in depth characterization of the tissue microenvironments that could provide better results than what is currently achieved with available contrasting agents.

The use of hyperpolarised agents for perfusion imaging or tissue-retention imaging for diagnostic MRI is a new technology that does not exist today. We will lay the foundation for such a technology by providing the contrast agents, the means to increase their MR signal, and the routes for MR imaging of these hyperpolarised signals on clinical MRI scanners. Society will gain by having access to medical imaging that does not leave potentially toxic deposits in the bodies of children and adults undergoing MRI examinations. Our results also have the potential to access new markets for medical imaging and contrast media companies, whether established or young start-ups.

More info on the AlternativesToGd website.