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Posted: April 9, 2008
Luna Innovations Plans Preclinical Studies and Collaboration with National Cancer Institute
(Nanowerk News) Luna Innovations Incorporated (NASDAQ:LUNA) announces the National Cancer Institute has selected Luna’s magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent candidate for preclinical characterization by the Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL), a national resource and knowledge base for cancer researchers. The NCL was established to perform and standardize the preclinical characterization of nanomaterials intended for therapeutics and diagnostics. Luna’s contrast agent for MRI is a modified fullerene compound with the potential to provide a completely new approach to enhancing contrast during MRI procedures. Luna’s technology may also prevent the toxicity currently associated with gadolinium, a contrast substance frequently used in MRI which has been associated with health problems.
“The core of Luna’s commercialization strategy is to develop technologies in alliances with valued partners, including federal labs, universities, and other businesses. In this collaboration with the NCL, we will be working together to perform preliminary studies, which will further develop our nanotechnology strategy towards application and provide preliminary characterization data. The data can be used to aid the regulatory process and in the transition to commercialization,” said Luna Chairman and CEO, Dr. Kent Murphy. “We are pleased to have been selected for this program, which can help to accelerate the development of our nanomaterials-based contrast agent and we believe will improve contrast, while using less agent and improving upon safety.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are partners of the NCL with its intent to accelerate the transition of basic nano-biotech research into clinical applications. A panel consisting of scientists from the NCL, the NCI, the pharmaceutical industry, the NIST, the FDA and the nanotechnology industry evaluate and select proposal applications from a large number of potential nanomaterials candidates. Nanomaterials selected for characterization are based on their projected impact on clinical cancer applications and/or furthering nanotechnology’s compatibility with biological systems.
Studies of Luna’s MRI candidate will include characterization of its physical attributes, its in vitro biological properties and its in vivo compatibility using animal models. Critical parameters related to distribution, metabolism, elimination and toxicity will be examined. The time to characterize a nanomaterial through the NCL, from receipt through the in vivo phase, is anticipated to be one year.
“The outcome of this characterization study is the report necessary for an IND, or Investigational New Drug, application,” commented Dr. Chris Kepley, nanoImmuminology Group Leader at Luna and Principal Investigator of this study. “The process of getting a new drug to market can be a lengthy one, however with the NCL behind us we hope to move forward more quickly bringing to market a next-generation solution for MRI contrast agents.”
About Luna Innovations:
Luna Innovations Incorporated (www.lunainnovations.com) develops and manufactures new-generation products for the healthcare, telecommunications, energy and defense markets. Luna’s products are used to measure, monitor, protect and improve critical processes. Through its disciplined commercialization business model, Luna has become a recognized leader in transitioning science to solutions. Luna nanoWorks (www.lunananoworks.com) is a division of Luna Innovations, developing products empowered by nanomaterials with applications in diagnostics, therapeutics, and organic solar cells.