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1. (WO2019030535) MAGNETIC STRUCTURES
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CLAIMS

1. A contrast agent for magnetic resonance imaging, in which the contrast agent comprises:

a plurality of magnetic nanoparticles, wherein each magnetic nanoparticle comprises a core covered at least in part with a layer of metal, wherein the core and the layer of metal are comprised of different materials; and

one or more pharmaceutically acceptable carriers.

2. The contrast agent of claim 1, comprising

a matrix,

wherein the plurality of magnetic nanoparticles are embedded in the matrix, and wherein at least one of the matrix and the core comprises a ferromagnetic material.

3. The contrast agent of claim 2, wherein the core comprises a ferromagnetic material.

4. The contrast agent of claim 2 or claim 3, wherein the matrix comprises a transition metal or a rare earth metal.

5. The contrast agent of claim 4, wherein the transition metal is a ferromagnetic transition metal selected from Fe, Co, Ni, or a diamagnetic transition metal selected from Ag or Au.

6. The contrast agent of claim 4, wherein the rare earth metal is selected from Dy or Ho.

7. The contrast agent of any one of claims 2 to 6, wherein the matrix and the layer of metal are comprised of the same material.

8. The contrast agent of claim 2, wherein the core comprises a transition metal, wherein the layer of metal comprises an antiferromagnetic material, and wherein the matrix material comprises a rare earth metal.

9. The contrast agent of claim 8, wherein the layer of metal comprises an antiferromagnetic transition metal and the core comprises a ferromagnetic transition metal.

10. The contrast agent of claim 9, wherein the ferromagnetic transition metal is selected from Fe, Co, or Ni.

11. The contrast agent of claim 9, wherein the antiferromagnetic transition metal is selected from Cr or Mn.

12. The contrast agent of any one of claims 8 to 11, wherein the rare earth metal is selected from Dy or Ho.

13. The contrast agent of any one of claims 8 to 12, comprising a second layer which covers the layer of metal at least in part, the second layer being formed from a rare earth metal, optionally wherein the second layer and the matrix is of the same rare earth metal.

14. The contrast agent of claim 2, wherein the core comprises a ferromagnetic transition metal, and the layer of metal comprises a ferromagnetic transition metal or a diamagnetic transition metal.

15. The contrast agent of claim 14, wherein the diamagnetic transition metal is selected from Ag or Au.

16. The contrast agent of any preceding claim, wherein each magnetic nanoparticle is of a diameter of no more than one of 10 nm, 5 nm, 4 nm, 3 nm, 2 nm, or 1 nm.

17. The contrast agent of any preceding claim, wherein each magnetic nanoparticle is of a diameter between 1 nm and 5 nm, optionally wherein the diameter is about 4 nm, optionally wherein the diameter is about 2 nm.

18. A process for producing a contrast agent for use in magnetic resonance imaging, the process comprising:

forming magnetic nanoparticles by depositing at least in part a layer of metal on a core, in which the core and the layer of metal are comprised of different materials; and

combining with one or more pharmaceutically acceptable carriers.

19. The process of claim 18, wherein the core comprises a ferromagnetic material.

20. The process of claim 18 or claim 19, the process comprising:

depositing a matrix material onto a substrate to thereby form a matrix; and

depositing the magnetic nanoparticles onto the matrix as the matrix forms to thereby embed the magnetic nanoparticles in the matrix.

21. The process of claim 20, wherein the core and the layer of metal are comprised of different materials.

22. The process of claim 20 or claim 21, comprising depositing magnetic particles comprising a layer of diamagnetic transition metal onto the matrix as the matrix forms and raising the temperature of the thus formed magnetic structure to thereby form a liquid containing magnetic particles and optionally wherein the diamagnetic transition metal is a Group 1 1 metal and the matrix material comprises a polar molecular compound.

23. A contrast agent in the form of a liquid-dispersible powder comprising nanoscale grains of a matrix material containing a plurality of isolated nanoparticles, wherein at least a portion of the nanoparticles comprise magnetic nanoparticles, wherein each magnetic nanoparticle comprises a magnetic core selected from one of more of Fe or an alloy of Fe/Co encased in a biocompatible FeO shell.

24. A method of producing a contrast agent in the form of a liquid-dispersible powder according to claim 23, the method comprising the steps of:

a. providing nanoparticles prepared under ultra-high vacuum (UHV) gas phase conditions;

b. co-depositing the nanoparticles within a matrix under UHV gas phase conditions; and

c. grinding the film to a fine powder comprising grains of groups of matrix isolated nanoparticles.

25. A magnetic resonance imaging apparatus for diagnosing illness or condition of a patient to whom the contrast agent of any one of claims 1 to 17 has been administered, the apparatus comprising:

a source of a radio frequency pulse operable to expose a patient located within the apparatus to a radio frequency pulse; and

a controller operable to vary the field amplitude of the radio frequency pulse.

26. A magnetic resonance imaging apparatus for treating an illness or condition of a patient to whom the contrast agent of any one of claims 1 to 17 has been administered, the apparatus comprising:

a source of a radio frequency pulse operable to expose a patient located within the apparatus to a radio frequency pulse; and

a controller operable to vary the field amplitude of the radio frequency pulse.

27. A magnetic resonance imaging apparatus for simultaneously or subsequently diagnosing and treating an illness or condition of a patient to whom the contrast agent of any one of claims 1 to 17 has been administered, the apparatus comprising:

a source of a radio frequency pulse operable to expose a patient located within the apparatus to a radio frequency pulse; and

a controller operable to vary the field amplitude of the radio frequency pulse.

28. The apparatus of any one of claims 25 to 27, wherein the controller is operable to vary the field amplitude between a plurality of amplitudes.

29. The apparatus of claim 28, wherein the controller is operable to vary the field amplitude of the radio frequency pulse between a first low field amplitude and a second high field amplitude.

30. The apparatus of claim 29, wherein the first low field amplitude is sufficient to generate an image or series of images of a body part of a user, and wherein the second high field amplitude is sufficient to cause the magnetic nanoparticles to generate or emit heat.

31. A method of simultaneously or subsequently diagnosing and treating an illness or condition of a patient, the method comprising:

administering a contrast agent as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 17 to a patient;

positioning the patient within an apparatus as claimed in any one of claims 27 to 30;

operating the controller such that the source of a radio frequency pulse is provided at a first field amplitude sufficient to generate one or more images of one or more parts of the body of the patient;

identifying an illness or condition associated with the patient from the generated one or more images; and

operating the controller such that the source of a radio frequency pulse is provided at a second field amplitude sufficient to treat the illness or condition associated with the patient.

32. The method of claim 31, in which the step of identifying an illness or condition of the patient occurs prior to the subsequent step of treating the illness or condition.

33. Use of a nanoparticle comprising a core covered at least in part with a layer of metal, in which the core and the layer of metal are comprised of different materials, in the manufacture of a contrast agent.

34. A nanoparticle comprising a core covered at least in part with a layer of metal, in which the core and the layer of metal are comprised of different materials, for use in diagnosis or therapy.

35. A contrast agent according to any one of claims 1 to 17, for use in diagnosis or therapy.

36. A nanoparticle according to claim 34 or contrast agent according to claim 35, for use in the diagnosis or treatment of cancer, viruses, bacterial infections, inflammatory conditions, or any combination thereof, optionally wherein the cancer is selected from one or more of carcinoma, sarcoma, melanoma, lymphoma, and leukemia.

37. A method of diagnosing an illness or condition in a patient comprising administration of a nanoparticle comprising a core covered at least in part with a layer of metal, in which the core and the layer of metal are comprised of different materials.

38. A method of diagnosing an illness or condition in a patient comprising administration of a contrast agent according to any one of claims 1 to 17.

39. A method of diagnosing a disease or condition of a patient, to whom the contrast agent or pharmaceutical composition of any one of claims 1 to 17 has been administered, comprising the steps of:

positioning the patient within an apparatus as herein described;

operating the controller such that the source of a radio frequency pulse is provided at a first field amplitude and first field frequency sufficient to generate one or more images of one or more parts of the body of the patient;

identifying an illness, disease or condition associated with the patient from the generated one or more images.

40. The method of claim 39 comprising the step of operating the controller such that the source of a radio frequency pulse is provided at a second field amplitude and second field frequency sufficient to treat the illness, disease or condition associated with the patient.