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Claims for Patent: 4,951,675

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Claims for Patent: 4,951,675

Title: Biodegradable superparamagnetic metal oxides as contrast agents for MR imaging
Abstract:This invention relates to materials exhibiting certain magnetic and biological properties which make them uniquely suitable for use as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) agents to enhance MR images of animal organs and tissues. More particularly, the invention relates to the in vivo use of biologically degradable and metabolizable superparamagnetic metal oxides as MR contrast agents. Depending on their preparation, these metal oxides are in the form of superparamagnetic particle dispersoids or superparamagnetic fluids where the suspending medium is a physiologically-acceptable carrier, and may be uncoated or surrounded by a polymeric coating to which biological molecules can be attached. These materials are administered to animals, including humans, by a variety of routes and the metal oxides therein collect in specific target organs to be imaged; in the case of coated particles, the biological molecules can be chosen to target specific organs or tissues. The biodistribution of the metal oxides in target organs or tissues results in a more detailed image of such organs or tissues because the metal oxides, due to their superparamagnetic properties, exert profound effects on the hydrogen nuclei responsible for the MR image. In addition, the dispersoids and fluids are quite stable and, in the case of the fluids, can even be subjected to autoclaving without impairing their utility. Furthermore, the materials are biodegradable and, in the case of iron oxide compounds, can eventually be incorporated into the subject's hemoglobin, making them useful in treating anemia. Thus, the materials are well-suited for in vivo use.
Inventor(s): Groman; Ernest V. (Brookline, MA), Josephson; Lee (Arlington, MA), Lewis; Jerome M. (Newton, MA)
Assignee: Advanced Magnetics, Incorporated (Cambridge, MA)
Application Number:07/244,432
Patent Claims: 1. A method for obtaining an in vivo MR image of an organ or tissue of an animal or human subject which comprises (a) administering to such animal or human subject an effective amount of a contrast agent in a physiologically acceptable carrier, which contrast agent comprises a biodegradable superparamagnetic metal oxide, said biodegradable superparamagnetic metal oxide being characterized by biodegradation in such subject within about 2 weeks or less after administration, as evidenced by a return of the proton relaxation rates of said organ or tissues to preadministration levels; and (b) obtaining an MR image from such subject.

2. The method of claim 1 in which said biodegradable metal oxide is associated with a polymeric substance.

3. The method of claim 2 in which said polymeric substance is a polysaccharide.

4. The method of claim 1, 2, or 3 in which said metal is iron.
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