A non-invasive MRI-based method to diagnose breast cancer using specific binding MRI contrast agents.. Breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among U.S. women, with a 13% incidence. The use of screening tests for early detection of breast cancer and other cancers provides better opportunities for patients to survive these cancers, with fewer side effects. Estrogen receptor (ER) is a well-established marker of breast cancer, and therefore the capacity to map this receptor may indicate high risk for cancer development. Current clinical methods that measure ER are subjective and semi-quantitative, or suffer from low target to non-target tissue image contrast. Hence, an accurate, standardized in vivo method to determine ER level would highly improve patient’s care. The present invention allows for the identification of ER by specific MRI contrast agents.
• Molecular imaging of the human breast for diagnostic and prognostic purposes
• Use in other steroid receptors that are implicated in breast cancer (progesterone) and other cancers (androgens in prostate cancer)
• Non invasive • Non toxic
• Specific detection, diagnosis and prognosis evaluation of cancers
• Sufficiently potent both as a ligand of ER and a sensitive MRI contrast agent
• MRI of the receptors both in vitro and in vivo
Cancers such as breast and prostate cancer most frequently express the steroid receptors of their origin and can accumulate molecules that have high binding affinities for the receptors, namely, receptor ligands. In the outlined technology, new MRI sensitive ligands that bind specifically to the estrogen receptor were synthesized, in order to identify the presence of the receptors by non invasive MRI methods. These probes can map the estrogen receptor in vivo using contrast enhanced MRI.