Victoria University researchers are looking to create improved technology that will help with the early detection of cancer and other diseases.
The project - which has recently received seed funding - will attempt to develop new contrast agents, the substances patients take before undergoing an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Postdoctoral fellow Renee Goreham, who is leading the project, said the contrast agents currently being used were toxic and could have side effects.
They also had a low resolution, making it difficult to identify some cancerous cells.
"If you have something that's less toxic and is able to be released by the body easier, it would definitely be more readily available," Dr Goreham said.
"We're looking at an improved agent, you'll also get more resolution."
The three-year project was working to create new contrast agents from non-toxic silver nanomaterial, with both fluorescent and magnetic properties.
Dr Goreham said even if the project was successful, it would be some time before the technology was readily available as it would have to go through testing first.
"We're at the early stages, and we'd be looking [first] at just seeing if it works."
The project got $255,000 in seed funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Science for Technological Innovation National Science Challenge.