We’re happy to announce that the AlternativesToGD proposal has been invited to grant negotiations by the European Commission.

The AlternativesToGD consortium will develop on a new type of contrast agent for imaging using MRI.

The consortium consists of 10 partners, including EIBIR, and the project will run for 36 months, and is expected to start in the fall of 2019.

Project description:

Recently, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommended suspension and warning labels for the use of contrast agents (CAs) that are Gadolinium (Gd)-bearing CAs (GBCA) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These decisions, although in the absence of any clinical evidence, relate to potential major health concerns resulting from long-term accumulation of Gd containing species in the patients’ bodies. This sends a clear message to carefully consider the necessity of each contrast injection in individuals undergoing an MRI scan. However, for a number of diagnostic procedures such as tumour characterisation, the use of a CA is often essential. The accumulation of Gd in different organs (including the brain) and GBCAs related diseases requires the scientific community to seek radically new alternatives. The AlternativesToGd vision is to identify and validate radically new compounds and technologies as alternatives to GBCAs. Investigated compounds and technologies will be tested in animal models of disease and the most promising ones identified for further clinical development. If successful, the envisaged outcome will radically impact the field, likely leading to a paradigm shift in MR based diagnosis thus being highly beneficial to society. The AlternativesToGd consortium will develop a new class of MRI CAs that will be metal-free, safe, and completely washed out by the human system after injection. The agents consist of small endogenous molecules, which will be hyperpolarised to ensure high sensitivities even at very low doses. A major challenge and risk arises from the rapid decay of the hyperpolarised (HP) state. As enabling technologies, AlternativesToGd focuses on three leading and innovative hyperpolarisation techniques and on unique agents showing HP state lifetimes sufficiently long to enable diagnostic contrast-enhanced MRI approaches with so far unmet sensitivity.

Project consortium:

Hadassah Medical Organisation, IL

University of Torino, IT

Technical University of Denmark, DK

University Ulm, DE

University of Oxford, UK


Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, DE

University of Cambridge, UK


Italian Institute of Technology, IT