The Thayer School of Engineering and Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, LI-COR Biosciences of Lincoln and Affibody AB announced a new partnership for development of molecularly targeted agents used in cancer surgery. The five-year project is funded by the National Cancer Institute. The amount of money to be spent was not disclosed.
Molecularly targeted fluorescent imaging agents have the potential to guide surgical resection by highlighting the biological margins of the disease, the partners said in a news release.
They described the study as "groundbreaking."
Dr. Brian Pogue, lead investigator and professor of engineering at Dartmouth, said the partners' work will dramatically accelerate the shift to molecularly guided surgical oncology.
The first agent will be an Affibody proprietary molecule targeted to the epidermal growth factor receptor, which is overexpressed in a broad range of cancers, the partners said.
“Due to the high target specificity and favorable tissue distribution properties of Affibody molecules, tumors and their boundaries can be rapidly identified and characterized, which may allow for the development of image-guided surgery as a potential option for improved brain tumor treatment,” said Dr. Fredrik Frejd, Affibody's chief science officer.
Imaging agents will be enabled with a near-infrared fluorescent dye developed by LI-COR, said Brad Roth, director of business development at LI-COR.
The first-in-human studies with recurrent high-grade brain tumor patients will be pursued at Dartmouth. Approval for the microdosing studies will be sought under the exploratory investigational new drug pathway at the FDA.
Dartmouth is a member of the Ivy League and consistently ranks among the world's leading academic institutions.
Affibody is a Swedish biotech company focused on developing next-generation biopharmaceuticals.
LI-COR Biosciences, 4647 Superior St., develops fundamental research tools for cellular and molecular biology and environmental sciences, based on the core technologies of light, optics and electronics.
LI-COR pioneered the development of near-infrared fluorescence detection systems for DNA sequencing, and it today provides systems for drug discovery, protein research, small animal imaging and undergraduate training.
Founded in 1971, the privately held company is based in Lincoln with subsidiaries in Germany and the United Kingdom.