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Research Grant to Fund Development of Novel Tumor-Imaging Nanoprobes

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 04 Nov 2013
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Research funds have been awarded that will support a collaborative effort to develop novel nanoprobes to be used for in vivo tumor imaging.

Rockland Immunochemicals Inc. (Gilbertsville, PA, USA) and Abzyme Therapeutics (Malvern, PA, USA) have received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the [US] National Cancer Institute (Bethesda, MD, USA) to develop nanoprobes for in vivo imaging of tumors that express the important cancer therapeutic targets: EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor), Her2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2), or mesothelin.

According to the terms of the grant, during the first phase the partners will develop, label, and characterize high-affinity single domain antibodies against the three tumor antigens. Abzyme Therapeutics will develop the single domain antibodies, and Rockland will be responsible for bioconjugation and in vivo characterization.

In the planned second phase of the project, the key antibodies will be labeled with a radioactive isotope and characterized using PET scanners in collaboration with Yale University (New Haven, CT, USA) and the University of Pittsburg (PA, USA). Suitable radioactively labeled antibodies will be used as in vivo imaging agents, and their potential use in targeted cancer therapy will be considered.

“In these times of shrinking government investment in research, this SBIR grant validates Rockland’s business model of collaboration with leading academic institutions to aggregate, develop, and commercialize technologies that will ultimately benefit humanity,” said Jim Fendrick, president and CEO of Rockland Immunochemicals. “This research is in line with the company’s expertise in antibodies and antibody based tools. We are confident that this collaboration will generate significant innovation and that the results will have great scientific and commercial applications.”

According to the market research firm Markets and Markets (Pune, India), the global diagnostic imaging market, which stood at USD 20.7 billion in 2010, is expected to expand to USD 26.6 billion by 2016. This expected rise is attributed to an aging population, increasing awareness about preventive care, and advancements in the field.

Related Links:
Rockland Immunochemicals Inc.
Abzyme Therapeutics
[US] National Cancer Institute

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