NEWS RELEASE - For Immediate Release

Study Using a Novel MRI-based Probe to Image Inflammatory Cells in Cancer is Published in OncoImmunology

December 17, 2012 - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Celsense, Inc. announced today the publication in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, OncoImmunology, of an article that describes the results of a preclinical study on the application of a novel probe to imaging inflammation in cancer. The probe in the study is a derivative of V-Sense, a perfluorocarbon (PFC) contrast agent that labels phagocytic cells in the body which are naturally involved in inflammatory processes, revealing sites of inflammatory cell infiltrates by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The article, authored by investigators at Celsense, Duquesne University and Carnegie Mellon University, evaluates a dual modality probe, which has both a PFC and a near-infrared moiety, in enabling quantitative, non-invasive detection of inflammatory cells within the tumor microenvironment by both MRI and optical methods.

The unique ability of V-Sense to image inflammation has already been established in a variety of disease models including transplant rejection, neural inflammation, infection and inflammatory bowel disease and arthritis, and now cancer can be added to the growing list of disease indications for this biomarker. “Because of the presence of the optical near-infrared probe, in this study we were able to specifically identify the cells containing the dual-mode V-Sense within the tumor, a breast carcinoma. Previous studies in acute models of inflammation implicated macrophages, but to our surprise, we found that myeloid-derived suppressor cells—non-tumor host cells which promote tumor progression—were found to be the source of labeled cells at the tumor site,” said Dr. Amy Wesa, Director of Research and Development at Celsense, Inc.

While these so-called “MDSC” are linked to poor prognosis, and many cancer researchers are actively involved in developing therapeutics to inactivate their tumor promoting functions, detecting these cells is dependent upon ex-vivo analysis of tumor tissue with panels of markers to identify the cells, both in preclinical and clinical studies. This novel probe provides a way to quantitatively and noninvasively evaluate tumors for the presence of MDSC, and will be a valuable tool for evaluating novel therapeutic agents in vivo.

The addition of optical probes to V-Sense enables a rapid means of in vivo imaging using infrared imaging systems. Additionally, dual mode V-Sense can now be used to detect labeled cells in tissue sections using fluorescent microscopy. This provides a method for validating the findings obtained by MRI, and expands the use of V-Sense into laboratories where MRI is not readily available for routine experiments.

“The near infrared version of V-Sense will be launched in January,” announced Anthony Balducci, Senior Scientist at Celsense, Inc., “And adds to the already growing family of V-Sense products, which includes red and green fluorescent versions.” These true dual-mode agents are expected to enhance the adoption rate of the V-Sense platform in preclinical studies.

The V-Sense family of reagents has been shown to be effective in imaging inflammation as well as quantifying the response to therapeutics in a variety of disease models in preclinical studies using MRI. Eventual clinical development of V-Sense would provide a relevant disease biomarker that not only links preclinical and clinical development, but which could significantly shorten clinical trial times of new drug candidates or biologicals through provision an earlier marker of therapeutic response rates.

A link to the free full text of the published manuscript is available at: http://www.landesbioscience.com/journals/oncoimmunology/article/23034/

About V-Sense
V-Sense is a proprietary perfluorocarbon emulsion. V-Sense is safe for direct intravenous injection for preclinical studies. Following injection, the emulsion droplets are internalized by circulating phagocytes. These labeled cells accumulate at inflammatory sites in vivo and are detected by fluorine-19 (19F) MRI, or alternatively, by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) in excised tissue. The key advantage of using 19F detection is that there is no background signal from the host’s tissues. Quantification of the 19F signal yields a fast, accurate marker of the degree of inflammation present that is directly proportional to the cellular inflammatory burden within the tissue.  V-Sense can be used to detect a wide range of lesions and diseases where inflammation is a hallmark, such as cancer and infections, and autoimmune diseases. V-Sense is also used for pharmacological safety profiling to detect ‘off target’ inflammatory side effects in preclinical drug screens.

About Celsense, Inc.
Celsense, Inc. develops and markets novel products that enable the non-invasive imaging of populations of cells in vivo using MRI.  Customers include leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as well as medical research centers worldwide. Celsense’s mission is to be the standard for cellular imaging in human health.

Contact Information:

Charlie O’Hanlon, President and CEO
Celsense, Inc.