Tomowave Laboratories Awarded SBIR Phase I Grant to Investigate Potential Adverse Effects of Nanotechnology in Live Laboratory Animals

(Nanowerk News) Tomowave Laboratories, Inc, today announced the award of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to investigate the potential health risks of nanotechnology applications in industry and medicine.
Tomowave Laboratories develops imaging, sensing and monitoring systems based on the technological combination of light and sound. TomoWave's novel system will rapidly and sensitively assess health risks associated with the injection of nanoparticles into animals.
"Our technology uses tunable near-infrared laser pulses to identify characteristics of nanoparticles throughout the animal body by converting absorbed optical energy into sources of ultrasound. This optoacoustic tomography represents the most sensitive modality for detection of optically absorbing nanoparticles of gold, silver, carbon etc through significant depths in biological tissues not attainable by pure optical technologies," said Dr. Alexander Oraevsky, Chief Technology Officer and the Principal Investigator of this project. Using TomoWave's novel technology, gold and carbon-based nanoparticles can be detected in minute quantities in the body.
This SBIR award will allow TomoWave to optimize its technological approach within 6 months and submit the Phase II grant application in April 2012, valued at up to $1 million per year. The Phase I award is a pre-requisite for the Phase II SBIR award which is directed to development of the final commercial product.
Dr. Benjamin Adler, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, stated, "We are very excited that the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has selected funding of our Phase I program entitled "Optoacoustic system for monitoring biodistribution of nanoparticles in vivo". According to Dr. Adler, "there is a pressing need for low-cost and high-sensitivity instrumentation capable of monitoring growth and clearance of nanoparticles in the body, to perform health safety assessments and determine efficacy of disease treatments". Current methods to detect nanoparticles, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and x-ray imaging (CT scans) are not sufficiently sensitive for metal and carbon nanoparticles, are very expensive and are not available to many companies which must test nanotechnology-based drugs and industrial products.
Tomowave Laboratories is an internationally recognized leader in optoacoustic imaging research and development. "This new instrumentation provides a significantly cheaper, safer and more versatile alternative to current noninvasive imaging modalities, such as CT and MRI" stated Dr. Adler. "We expect these imaging systems to be in great demand in nanotechnology-oriented bioengineering businesses and academic labs interested in determining the potential health risk of novel nano-drugs and nano-devices.
Source: Tomowave Laboratories (press release)
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