Frost + Sullivan today announced that the 2008 European Technology Innovation of the Year Award in molecular/cellular imaging has been bestowed upon Aposense Ltd., for its pioneering molecular platform for the targeting and imaging of apoptosis.
Israeli-based Aposense's technology platform, known as Aposense(R), is an innovative set of rationally designed molecules specifically targeting apoptosis (programmed cell death), both for medical imaging, personalised medicine, and for targeted drug design.
"The modular structure of Aposense(R) molecules allows a broad range of imaging moieties for clinical imaging to be attached and targeted to apoptotic cells," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Katherine Austin. "Drugs can also be targeted to apoptotic cells and tissues with Aposense(R). This important characteristic makes Aposense(R) technology applicable to various imaging modalities and targeted therapeutics."
The Aposense(R) lead-compound for molecular imaging, ML-10, enables real-time visualisation of biological activity in the clinic using a standard positron emission tomography (PET) scanner following radio-labeling of the ML-10 agent with the isotope 18-F, which is used for most other PET procedures. It can be used in the diagnosis of disease as well as disease staging, and also for monitoring response to therapy. It can also be integrated as a valuable tool in the drug development processes.
"In the field of oncology, Aposense(R) ML-10 allows clinicians to see response of tumors to anti-cancer treatment within hours or days, compared with the use of current technologies such as computerised tomography or magnetic resonance imaging, which require weeks or months before the therapeutic effects can be visualised," says Austin. "Standard imaging technologies reveal treatment effects only at the anatomical level, while with Aposense(R), the biological effect can be seen much earlier at the cellular level."
Aposense's imaging technology can thus provide real-time answers to important qualitative and quantitative questions, while allowing physicians to make better use of their therapeutic arsenal. Aposense(R) technology could also play an important role in bio-guided radiotherapy, where Aposense will enable adjusting the radiation field and dose to optimise its effectiveness.
"Some additional significant advantages of Aposense's technology for medical imaging are its long shelf life and in vivo stability, its low required dose, and its rapid clearance from non-target tissues through the urine," adds Austin. "Moreover, the technology is clinically-compatible, and its implementation does not require any changes in current standard medical imaging equipment or methods."
While there are a few other probes for cell death in vitro in cell culture, Aposense(R) ML-10 is the only agent currently available for the clinical detection of 'cell death in the living body'. Limitations of other investigated probes include toxicity, chemical reactivity, and immunogenicity. Furthermore, these probes have problems of bio-distribution and rapid metabolism and degradation in vivo, which consequently lead to low signal/background ratios.
"Low-molecular weight compounds are advantageous over large protein products on the market in many aspects, such as immunogenicity, metabolism, radiolabeling or bio-distribution," comments Austin. "Therefore, Aposense has utilized a nanotechnology approach in designing a molecule with minimised structure, which maintains biological performance in the detection of apoptotic cells; the company's lead product for molecular imaging, the Aposense (18F)- ML-10 for PET imaging, has a molecular weight of only 206."
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