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Home > Press > Luna Innovations Receives Funding for Brain Cancer Diagnostic Agent Using Nanotechnology

Abstract:
Luna Developing Improved MRI Agent to Detect, Diagnose and Treat Brain Cancers

Luna Innovations Receives Funding for Brain Cancer Diagnostic Agent Using Nanotechnology

ROANOKE, VA | Posted on October 7th, 2008

Luna Innovations Incorporated (NASDAQ:LUNA) announces an award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to improve the detection and diagnosis of brain tumors. Under this program, Luna will adapt its exclusive contrast agent technology using carbon nanospheres to produce an improved magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) agent. This next-generation contrast agent will be designed to enhance tumor imaging and advance the diagnosis and treatment of this disease by directing nanomolecules to seek out specific biological targets, such as a glioblastoma tumor, one specific form of brain cancer.

MRI is critical for the diagnosis and evaluation of many forms of brain and other cancers. "Primary malignant brain tumors cause 13,000 deaths in the United States annually and survival rates following therapeutic intervention are among the lowest compared to other cancers," stated Robert Lenk, President of Luna's nanoWorks division. "The work we are doing with NIH allows us the opportunity to build on our existing contrast agent platform of carbon nanomedicines and ultimately improve the detection and diagnosis of these high risk brain tumors."

Luna's imaging technology can be modified to direct it to accumulate at specific targets. Luna's MRI contrast agent prototype is based on a modification of its TRIMETASPHERE® carbon nanomaterial known as the HYDROCHALARONE™, which has shown promise to significantly enhance relaxivity, a property that provides for better imaging; is extremely stable; is water soluble; and has the potential to be modified to clear from the bloodstream quickly or slowly, depending on the specific application. "Luna's Hydrochalarone technology platform can be modified to produce targeted contrast agents, which selectively highlight the tumor cells. Our hope is that our novel approach will provide better resolution to radiologists, who in turn, will improve patient outcomes," said Kent Murphy, Chairman and CEO of Luna Innovations Incorporated.

Last November, Luna announced its first grant with the NIH using this carbon nanotechnology platform to improve the identification of coronary artery disease. Under this program, Luna proposed to develop a diagnostic agent that would allow the use of MRI, potentially providing a noninvasive measure to evaluate plaque in the arteries without the use of ionizing radiation and catheters.

Luna's contrast agent prototype is currently in preclinical studies at the NCI's Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory. The outcome of this characterization study is the report necessary for an Investigational New Drug application.

####

About Luna Innovations Incorporated
Luna Innovations Incorporated (www.lunainnovations.com) develops and manufactures new-generation products for the healthcare, telecommunications, energy and defense markets. Through its disciplined commercialization business model, Luna has become a recognized leader in transitioning science to solutions. Luna is headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia.

Luna’s nanoWorks division (www.lunananoworks.com), located in Danville, Virginia, is developing pharmaceutical products empowered by nanomaterials with applications in diagnostics and therapeutics. Luna’s exclusive carbon nanomaterials offer unique physical, chemical, thermal, magnetic, biological, optical and electronic properties that can be tailored to customer needs.

Forward Looking Statements:

This release includes information that constitutes “forward-looking statements” made pursuant to the safe harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding, but not limited to: Luna’s TRIMETASPHERE® carbon nanomaterial products and other products, as well as the expected capabilities, performance and potential market acceptance of such products. The company attempts, whenever possible, to identify forward-looking statements by words such as “intends,” “will,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “expects,” “may,” “estimates,” “believes,” “should,” “projects,” or “continue,” or the negative of those words and other comparable words. Similarly, statements that describe the company’s business strategy, goals, prospects, opportunities, outlook, objectives, plans or intentions are also forward-looking statements. Actual events or results may differ materially from the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the company’s control. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: the company’s ability to successfully identify market needs for new products; the potential adverse effects of nanotechnology, whether real or perceived; and the potential limitations of regulatory requirements in obtaining clearance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or other regulatory agencies for the company’s technology or products. Additional factors that may affect the future results of the company are set forth in the company’s quarterly and annual reports on Form 10-Q and Form 10-K, respectively, and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), which are available at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov, and at the Company’s website at www.lunainnovations.com. These risk factors are updated from time to time through the filing of periodic reports with the SEC. The statements made in this press release are based on information available to the company as of the date of this release and Luna Innovations undertakes no obligation to update any of the forward-looking statements herein after the date of this press release.

The project described here is supported by Award Number R43CA128273 from the National Cancer Institute. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Cancer Institute or the National Institutes of Health.

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Contacts:
Luna Innovations Incorporated
Media Contact:
Karin Clark
1-540-769-8400

or
Investor Contact:
Qorvis Communications
Sally Beerbower
1-202-496-1000

Copyright © Business Wire 2008

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