Published Research - Department of Chemistry


Date of this Version



ACS Cent. Sci. 2017, 3, 800−811

DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.7b00253


This is an open access article published under an ACS AuthorChoice License, which permits copying and redistribution of the article or any adaptations for non-commercial purposes


Metal-free magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) agents could overcome the established toxicity associated with metal-based agents in some patient populations and enable new modes of functional MRI in vivo. Herein, we report nitroxidefunctionalized brush-arm star polymer organic radical contrast agents (BASP-ORCAs) that overcome the low contrast and poor in vivo stability associated with nitroxide-based MRI contrast agents. As a consequence of their unique nanoarchitectures, BASP-ORCAs possess per-nitroxide transverse relaxivities up to ∼44-fold greater than common nitroxides, exceptional stability in highly reducing environments, and low toxicity. These features combine to provide for accumulation of a sufficient concentration of BASP-ORCA in murine subcutaneous tumors up to 20 h following systemic administration such that MRI contrast on par with metal-based agents is observed. BASP-ORCAs are, to our knowledge, the first nitroxide MRI contrast agents capable of tumor imaging over long time periods using clinical high-field 1H MRI techniques.

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