19F is the second most sensitive stable nucleus for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Because there is no endogenous 19F signal, 19F MRI is much more suited for quantification and tracking than 1H MRI. However, 19F MRI is not in clinical use because in spite of more than three decades of research, there are no approved 19F imaging agents. New approaches and new methodologies are needed to move the field forward. Water-soluble fluorinated dendrimers present a promising alternative to conventional perfluorocarbon emulsions. This article outlines recent development of fluorinated dendrimers as 19F imaging agents. This is not meant to be a comprehensive review of 19F imaging agents, for which there is an excellent recent review by Knight et al. Rather, the article aims to give an insider's account on research efforts in this exciting and challenging field. WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol 2013, 5:646–661. doi: 10.1002/wnan.1227
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