Nanotheranostics 2021; 5(3):348-361. doi:10.7150/ntno.58548

Research Paper

Long circulating tracer tailored for magnetic particle imaging

Sitong Liu1*, Andreina Chiu-Lam1*, Angelie Rivera-Rodriguez2*, Ryan DeGroff2, Shehaab Savliwala1, Nicole Sarna2, Carlos M. Rinaldi-Ramos1,2✉

1. Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.
2. J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-6131, USA.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.

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Liu S, Chiu-Lam A, Rivera-Rodriguez A, DeGroff R, Savliwala S, Sarna N, Rinaldi-Ramos CM. Long circulating tracer tailored for magnetic particle imaging. Nanotheranostics 2021; 5(3):348-361. doi:10.7150/ntno.58548. Available from

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Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle (SPION) tracers possessing long blood circulation time and tailored for magnetic particle imaging (MPI) performance are crucial for the development of this emerging molecular imaging modality. Here, single-core SPION MPI tracers coated with covalently bonded polyethyelene glycol (PEG) brushes were obtained using a semi-batch thermal decomposition synthesis with controlled addition of molecular oxygen, followed by an optimized PEG-silane ligand exchange procedure. The physical and magnetic properties, MPI performance, and blood circulation time of these newly synthesized tracers were compared to those of two commercially available SPIONs that were not tailored for MPI but are used for MPI: ferucarbotran and PEG-coated Synomag®-D. The new tailored tracer has MPI sensitivity that is ~3-times better than the commercial tracer ferucarbotran and much longer circulation half-life than both commercial tracers (t1/2=6.99 h for the new tracer, vs t1/2=0.59 h for ferucarbotran, and t1/2=0.62 h for PEG-coated Synomag®-D).

Keywords: magnetic particle imaging, iron oxide nanoparticles, long circulating tracer