Berlin - With the help of new synthetic molecule, the formation of new blood vessels in the brain can possibly be detected earlier and presented in more differentiated manner than with conventional diagnostic methods. This is what research group led by Leif Schröder from the Leibniz Research Institute for Molecular Pharmacology () reports in the specialist magazine Advanced Biosystems (DOI).
For his work, Schröder was able to fall back on previous work by Margitta Dathe: She had developed molecular structure to To transport active ingredients to the endothelial cells of the vessels in the brain. This peptide structure developed by Dathe forms so-called micelles, which are aggregates of around 19 molecules that bind together spontaneously.
Schröder's group is again researching new types of contrast media that contain artificially magnetized xenon and which are already in small quantities Generate signals. In order to develop contrast medium that is especially suitable for use on the vascular cells of the blood-brain barrier, Schröder rebuilt the micelles so that they can briefly enclose the xenon. “We were able to switch on 19 xenon loads per micelle for image contrast and thus directly visualize this type of cell forming in the tumor,” explains Schröder.
The researchers then examined the xenon-provided micelles in 2 cell cultures . On the one hand in cells from the brain: there the micelles actually docked on the blood vessel cells and marked them - the newly developed contrast agent worked. As control, Schröder also tested the contrast agent in aorta cells. However, they have different structure, which is why the micelles were significantly less bound to this species.
For possible future use in the clinic, the micelles developed by Schröders and Dathes' team would be absorbed by the blood vessels and the formation of new vessels could be visualized directly via the xenon - even at an early stage of tumor development.
Conventional According to the researchers, methods for marking certain cells for MRI are significantly less sensitive: A comparison showed that alternatives with fluorine-containing contrast media are around 16,000 times less efficient.
"The spread of malignant tumors into the brain would allow In this way, they can be detected at an early stage, even before extensive metastasis has set in, ”the researchers hope.