Thirty years ago, Schering filed the first patent application for a contrast agent for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) covering the forefather of the gadolinium contrast agents and still the most widely used gadolinium probe: gadolinium(III) diethylenetriaminepentaacetate (Magnevist). To date, 11 contrast agents have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for intravenous use. Coordination chemists have done a great deal to move the field forward. Our understanding of lanthanide chemistry now makes possible the design of complexes with long rotational correlation times, fast or slow water-exchange rates, high thermodynamic stabilities, and kinetic inertness, leading to sensitive and nontoxic contrast agents. Chemists did not stop there. The last few decades has seen the development of novel classes of probes that yield contrast through different mechanisms, such as paramagnetic chemical exchange saturation transfer agents. Thirty years since the first patent, chemists are still leading the way. The development of high-sensitivity contrast agents for high magnetic fields, safe probes for patients with kidney disorders, and multimodal, targeted, and responsive agents demonstrates that the field of contrast agents for MRI still has much to offer.
- Contrast agents
- Magnetic resonance imaging