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CEA-Leti announced today that it and four French partners are developing an injectable tracer that can provide both nuclear imaging in the pre-operative evaluation of tumors and optical imaging during ablation or biopsy.
The three-year Nano-ENO project is developing a specific tracer using a patented organic nano-carrier (Lipidot®). To improve its targeting capacities, a peptide molecule that recognizes certain types of cancer will also be grafted to the Lipidots.
In addition to CEA-Leti, the Nano-ENO project partners are:
- A team from the Frédéric Joliot Hospital in Orsay
- AAA, based in Saint-Genis-Pouilly, and specializing in radiopharmaceutical products
- Fluoptics, a CEA-Leti startup based in Grenoble and specializing in fluorescence-imaging systems, and
- VetAgro Sup, based in Marcy-l'Etoile, will oversee the pre-clinical studies on large- animal model (spontaneous tumors in dogs)
When treating cancer, medical professionals often look to several diagnostic tools and surgical aids, including positron emission tomography (PET) scan and fluorescence imaging. A PET scan is a nuclear-imaging procedure that allows doctors to measure the metabolic activity of an organ by injecting a radiotracer and then analyzing the gamma rays that are emitted as the tracer disintegrates.
Fluorescence imaging is a relatively new technology that combines the use of a florescent tracer with near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). The resulting real-time images help surgeons obtain cleaner margins during surgery and therefore reduce the risk of recurrence.
The nuclear markers used in a PET scan help provide high-resolution images, while optical contrast agents facilitate the identification of tumor cells in real-time. Combining these imaging technologies makes it possible to confirm that the tumors being operated on correspond to the tumors identified in the pre-operative studies. It also allows for a more thorough procedure to be performed with reduced overall surgical time; not only can the surgeon work more quickly and with greater precision, but the entire operation is streamlined, allowing for a more efficient use of operating rooms and surgical staff.
This project will receive support from the Cancéropôle Lyon Auvergne Rhône Alpes (CLARA) "Preuve de Concept" (Proof of Concept) initiative for three years.
EA is a French research and technology organization, with activities in four main areas: energy, information technologies, healthcare technologies and defence and security. Within CEA, the Laboratory for Electronics & Information Technology (CEA-Leti) works with companies in order to increase their competitiveness through technological innovation and transfers. CEA-Leti is focused on micro and nanotechnologies and their applications, from wireless devices and systems, to biology and healthcare or photonics. Nanoelectronics and microsystems (MEMS) are at the core of its activities. As a major player in MINATEC campus, CEA-Leti operates 8,000-m² state-of-the-art clean rooms, on 24/7 mode, on 200mm and 300mm wafer standards. With 1,200 employees, CEA-Leti trains more than 190 Ph.D. students and hosts 200 assignees from partner companies. Strongly committed to the creation of value for the industry, CEA-Leti puts a strong emphasis on intellectual property and owns more than 1,700 patent families.
In the context of a national cancer action plan, CLARA (Cancéropôle Lyon Auvergne Rhône-Alpes) is a government-funded program supporting cancer research in the Rhône-Alpes and Auvergne regions. It brings together academic, clinical, and commercial interests from both regions to contribute to the fight against cancer on the local, national, and international level. Specifically, CLARA fosters partnerships between the public and private sectors and encourages the exchange of technology. With the goal of helping the most patients, Cancéropôle is working to establish the Rhone-Alpes/Auvergne axis as the European authority in cancer research.
About CLARA’s POC Initiative
In 2005, CLARA decided that private finance initiatives were a logical choice for structuring their partnerships between publically funded laboratories and private industry. The “Preuve de Concept” (Proof of Concept) program was the result of this decision. Today, the POC initiative supports 25 projects and represents a budget of over 32 million Euros (23 million of which is provided by the eighteen commercial partners). Four projects have confirmed status, including one product that is currently being marketed in Europe and the United States (EndoControl’s ViKY® system, an ultra compact robotized endoscope positioner).
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