A team of researchers at Case Western Reserve University have developed a multifunctional nanoparticle that enables magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to pinpoint blood vessel plaques caused by atherosclerosis. The technology is a step toward creating a non-invasive method of identifying plaques vulnerable to rupture–the cause of heart attack and stroke—in time for treatment. This shows that the tailored nanoparticles can home in on plaque biomarkers which opens the possibility that particles can be programmed to identify vulnerable plaques from stable, something untargeted dyes alone cannot. This tailoring of nanoparticle technology can help doctors to detect whether the plaques are stable and require no treatment, or are vulnerable to rupture and require treatment. A rupture sets off the cascade of events that lead to heart attack and stroke.