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Fluorescent tumours in the clinic

15.12.2011

Munich/Groningen/Penzberg – For ten years, the application of image-guided surgery with tumour-specific fluorescent dyes has been limited to animal studies, because no one could predict safety or bio­distribution of such targeted dyes in patients. Now for the first time, a Dutch-German team of researchers has found a way to convince regulatory authorities that their fluorochromes are safe and can be tested on human subjects. In November, the team got the go-ahead for a Phase I study in breast cancer patients with the fluorochrome IR dye 800 CW (LI-COR Bioscience) coupled to the antibody drug Avastin (Roche).
“Our advantage is that we already have a lot of clinical data about the safety and biodistribution of the cancer therapeutic Avastin, which binds to VEGF produced by cancer cells,” said Werner Scheuer from Pharma Research & Early Development at Roche (Penzberg), who developed the anti­body-flurochrome conjugates in cooperation with Vasilis Ntziachristos (TU Munich) and Go van Dam (Medical College Groningen). In the November issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine (52(11): 1778-1785), the authors provided evidence that their cancer imaging agent behaves in animals as Avastin does in humans. For proving safety in humans, they will use microdoses of the dye – 100 times lower than the lowest dose in which the cancer drug shows an effect. “We want to statistically prove that breast cancer patients benefit from image-guided surgery with targeted fluorochromes,” explains Ntziachristos. He has developed a camera system that can identify the tumour margins with seven times better resolution than a surgeon can with the naked eye. A pipeline of antibody-fluorochrome conjugates is already being tested in animals.

Politics / Law

23.03.2012

Brussels/Strasbourg – Health claims are set to be drastically limited in the EU. On Wednesday 21 March the Environment Committee of the European Parliament confirmed a proposal of the European Commission to prohibit 1,600 health...

Politics / Law

15.03.2012

Parma/Stockholm – Foodborne bacteria such as Salmonella and Campylobacter are becoming more and more resistant to antimicrobial drugs, according to a joint report published by the European food watchdog EFSA and the European...

BioFunding

09.03.2012

In mid-February, scientists and entrepreneurs from nine EU countries met at the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona to launch the 4DCellFate project. Positioned within the FP7 Programme, the consortium will receive...

BioFunding

09.03.2012

Brussels – The EU’s Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) will establish the European Lead Factory, an EU-wide public-private partnership aiming to facilitate drug discovery efforts. The Lead Factory will comprise a...

Editorial

07.03.2012

T    he societal and economic challenges facing Europe and the world are complex and interconnected. The Bioeconomy Strategy and Action Plan “Innovating for Sustainable Growth: a Bioeconomy for Europe”, which was adopted by the...

Tech Review

07.03.2012

Intellectual Property (IP) is without question one of the most vital aspects of any bio­tech venture, a key and undisputed factor for success. However, most bio­tech companies are still incapable of unlocking the value of their...

Clinical Trial

07.03.2012

Schlieren – Swiss Cytos Biotechnology Ltd. has been authorised to restructure a convertible bond by Canton of Zurich authorities. The company does not have enough cash to pay it back. Negotiations with bond holders failed in a...

Clinical Trial

06.03.2012

Munich – German 4SC AG jumped 39% to €2.05/share after oncology drug candidate resminostat met the primary endpoint of at least a 20% progression-free survival rate in a Phase II trial to treat patients with hepatocellular...

Editorial

06.03.2012

The start of 2012 witnessed the tides turning in favour of small and mid-cap names in the European Life Sciences sector. Major global biotechnology indices like the NBI, BTK, and BIOTK are up over 15% year to date. The pace of...

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