Multibranched-Based Fluorinated Materials: Tailor-Made Design of 19F-MRI Probes

Beatrice Lucia Bona, Olga Koshkina, Cristina Chirizzi, Valentina Dichiarante, Pierangelo Metrangolo*, Francesca Baldelli Bombelli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

ConspectusFuture medicine is primarily aiming at the development of novel approaches for an early diagnosis of diseases and a personalized therapy for patients. For achieving these objectives, a key role is played by medical imaging. Among available noninvasive imaging techniques, Fluorine-19 (19F) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is emerging as a powerful quantitative detection modality for clinical use both for molecular imaging and for cell tracking.The strength of using 19F-MRI is mainly related to the lack of endogenous organic fluorine in tissues, with no background, enabling the visualization of fluorinated tracers as hot-spot images, adding secondary independent information to the anatomical features provided by the grayscale 1H-MRI. The main challenge for 19F-MRI clinical application is the intrinsic reduced sensitivity of MRI. To improve sensitivity, undoubtedly the use of a high field MRI scanner and cryogenic radiofrequency probes is advantageous, but there is a clear need of developing increasingly effective fluorinated tracers.The ideal tracer should bear as many as possible magnetically equivalent fluorine atoms and show optimal magnetic resonance relaxivity properties (i.e., T1 and T2), which enable reduced acquisition time with the possibility to apply fast imaging methods. Moreover, it should be biocompatible with reduced tendency to bioaccumulate in tissues, which is one of the main drawbacks in using perfluorocarbons (PFCs), together with their difficulty to be chemically modified with functional groups. In fact, PFCs such as perfluorooctyl bromide (PFOB), perfluoro-15-crown-5-ether (PFCE), and linear perfluoropolyethers (PFPE) are currently the most used tracers in 19F-MRI preclinical and clinical studies, with the above-mentioned limitations. In this regard, molecules bearing short branched fluorinated chains gained a lot of attention for their high number of equivalent fluorines and expected capability of reducing bioaccumulation concerns. A valuable building block for branched fluorinated tracers is perfluoro-tert-butanol (PFTB), with nine magnetically equivalent fluorines and easy availability and modification.In this Account we will discuss the main challenges that 19F-MRI has to overcome for increasing its clinical use, highlighting on one hand the need of developing customized fluorinated materials for increasing sensitivity and enabling multimodal properties, and on the other hand, the importance of the ultrastructure of the final formulation for the final biological response (i.e., clearance). In this context, our group has been focusing on the synthesis and development of branched fluorinated tracers, for which the originator is a molecule called PERFECTA (from suPERFluorinatEdContrasT Agent), bearing 36 equiv 19F atoms, which showed not only optimal relaxometry properties but also a very specific and intense Raman signal. Thus, PERFECTA and its derivatives represent a new family of multimodal tracers enabling multiscale analysis, from whole body imaging (19F-MRI) to microscopic detection at the cellular/tissue level (Raman microscopy). We believe that our proposed PFTB strategy can strongly promote the production of increasingly effective 19F-MRI materials with additional functionalities, facilitating the clinical translation of this imaging modality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-85
Number of pages15
JournalAccounts of Materials Research
Volume4
Issue number1
Early online date29 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2023

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