MRI Scanner at Shaare Zedek Medical Center 521.
(photo credit: www.szmc.org.il)
The EU has awarded 1.65 million euros to researchers at the Hadassah University
Medical Center, in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem, for testing an experimental substance
– described as a breakthrough – that they developed for non-radioactive imaging,
to be used on cancer patients and those suffering from neurological
Dr. Rachel Katz-Brull of the hospital’s Department of Radiology will
head the research project and conduct pre-clinical experiments to measure the
efficacy of a non-radioactive “hyperpolar substance” that she and her colleagues
discovered, for use in patients with cancer and diseases of the
Described by Hadassah as “a breakthrough,” the team’s work focuses
on developing molecular markers for medical imaging (with MRIs).
positron-emission tomography (PET) scanner is widely used to diagnose types of
cancers and the dispersal of cancerous cells, as it tracks an injected, glucose
based, radio-pharmaceutical substance and attaches itself to irregular
It is also used to diagnose neurological conditions such as
epilepsy. But Katz-Brull developed a non-radioactive substance that can be used
during MRI scans, a desired alternative to avoid harmful side effects.
the Hadassah researcher can prove that her substance is effective, it could be
used on children, pregnant women and others who must avoid exposure to
radioactive substances but may require thorough testing that such scans provide.
No other material like this has been found anywhere in the world.
European Research Council of the EU is covering the cost of the study, which
requires the purchase of expensive equipment and hiring of new
If the research is successful, clinical studies involving
patients could follow, Hadassah said.