Sugar-based biopolymers as novel imaging agents for molecular magnetic resonance imaging

Zheng Han, Guanshu Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Sugar-based biopolymers have been recognized as attractive materials to develop macromolecule- and nanoparticle-based cancer imaging and therapy. However, traditional biopolymer-based imaging approaches rely on the use of synthetic or isotopic labeling, and because of it, clinical translation often is hindered. Recently, a novel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology, chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST), has emerged, which allows the exploitation of sugar-based biopolymers as MRI agents by their hydroxyl protons-rich nature. In the study, we reviewed recent studies on the topic of CEST MRI detection of sugar-based biopolymers. The CEST MRI property of each biopolymer was briefly introduced, followed by the pre-clinical and clinical applications. The findings of these preliminary studies imply the enormous potential of CEST detectable sugar-based biopolymers in developing highly sensitive and translatable molecular imaging agents and constructing image-guided biopolymer-based drug delivery systems. This article is categorized under: Diagnostic Tools > in vivo Nanodiagnostics and Imaging Therapeutic Approaches and Drug Discovery > Emerging Technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1551
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • CEST
  • MRI
  • molecular imaging agents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering


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