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    MT218 is a small peptide targeted MRI contrast agent specific to aggressive solid tumors for accurate early detection and risk-stratification of aggressive solid tumors. The targeted contrast agent is comprised of a small peptide of seven amino acids conjugated to a clinical macrocyclic MRI contrast agent Gd(HP-DO3A). MT218 has a T1 relaxivity of 5.5 mM-1s-1, nearly two-fold of that of the corresponding clinical agent ProHance®. The effectiveness of MT218 has been demonstrated in animal models of aggressive breast cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, and other types of solid tumors. MT218 can be readily implemented with the existing clinical MRI systems and protocols and does not require any new hardware or software settings.


    MT218 produces a signal 3-6 times higher in aggressive tumors than the clinical agent at 3T with a dose as low as 0.04 mmol/kg.  It can effectively differentiate high-risk tumors from low-grade tumors, compared to a clinical agent that is unable to generate significant signal enhancement in both tumors at 0.1 mmol/kg. The contrast agent has high in vivo stability and low tissue accumulation in the body, same as ProHance®, a highly stable clinical MRI contrast agent, which is critical for safe human use. Most importantly, the highly effective tumor enhancement of MT218 at substantially reduced doses is advantageous to minimize potential dose-dependent side effects of the contrast agent. 


    In the clinical management of prostate cancer, MT218 has the promise to address the limitations of the standard PSA screening and prostate biopsy, as well as the deficiency of the multiparametric MRI by providing accurate non-invasive detection and characterization of high-grade tumors. Its clinical application has the potential to spare many patients with low-risk cancer from unnecessary invasive procedures. Using the MT218 agent, the accurate localization of high-risk prostate cancer can also provide a precise image-guided targeted biopsy of high-risk tumors and allow physicians caring for their patients the ability to tailor efficacious interventions at an earlier stage. 


    MT218 can also be used for precision detection and characterization of other types of cancers, including breast cancer, colon cancer, liver cancer, and pancreatic cancer. Currently, there is no effective approach for accurate early detection and imaging in the clinical management of pancreatic cancer. However, in pancreatic cancer animal models, MT218 produces a strong signal enhancement. Contrast-enhanced MRI with MT218 can provide accurate early detection and image-guided treatment of pancreatic cancer. MT218 can also be used in active surveillance, surgery planning, and monitoring disease progression and treatment outcomes in the clinical management of aggressive cancers.  

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