Press Release

Leading Cancer Institute Tests Novel Monitoring Technique

By SpaceRef Editor
March 30, 2000
Filed under

Michael Braukus

Headquarters, Washington, DC

(Phone: 202/358-1979)

Nancy Lovato

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA

(Phone: 818/354-0474)

RELEASE: 00-49

A cancer detection technique that uses an advanced sensor developed at NASA’s Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, is being tested by the prestigious Dana-Farber
Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, for use in monitoring the effectiveness of cancer treatment.

The sensor is part of a device called the BioScan System ™, developed by
OmniCorder Technologies, Inc., Stony Brook, NY. OmniCorder has been developing and
testing the system for three years and received Food and Drug Administration clearance to
market it in December 1999.

“Since we announced the BioScan System’s ™ clearance by the FDA, we have been
inundated with requests to install and test the unit in clinics and hospitals across the country
and overseas, for a variety of cancer as well as other disease applications,” said
OmniCorder president and CEO Mark Fauci. “We selected the Dana-Farber site because
we feel that this center could best help us to have the largest and most immediate impact on
improving cancer treatment.”

The application at Dana-Farber is different from those that have been tested at other
sites. The BioScan System ™ has been used to locate and confirm the presence of a
cancerous breast lesion by detecting the cancer’s ability to recruit new blood supply – one
of the hallmarks of a malignant lesion. The goal of the Dana-Farber research is to evaluate
the BioScan System’s ™ ability to monitor biological effects of cancer treatment and to
help physicians detect treatment-induced changes in cancerous lesions of the breast, skin
and other organs. Armed with this information, they can better determine effectiveness of
the treatments.

Dana-Farber is testing several new classes of anti-cancer products, including some –
called antiangiogenesis factors – specifically designed to limit cancer growth by inhibiting its
blood supply. (Angiogenesis is the formation and differentiation of blood vessels.) The
BioScan System ™ was designed to detect minute changes in blood supply to cancerous
lesions and may help doctors measure precisely any decrease in blood supply to the cancer
caused by these new treatments.

“Current technologies to monitor the effects of cancer treatment might miss important
biologic and clinical effects, especially of newer treatment strategies such as
antiangiogenesis approaches and drugs to induce differentiation,” said Dr. George D.
Demetri, medical director, Center for Sarcoma and Bone Oncology, Department of Adult
Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA. Drs.
Demetri and Milos Janicek, from Dana-Farber’s diagnostic oncoradiology division, will be
co-principal investigators in the study.

“The technology harnessed by BioScan(tm) – if it proves what we hope it will – has the
potential to provide this ability for researchers and clinicians who might otherwise miss
subtle yet important effects of new drugs,” Demetri said. “By doing so, it could have a
substantial effect on developing new therapeutic approaches to cancer, such as directing
researchers to optimize biologically active doses and even reducing the time it takes to
demonstrate a drug’s efficacy for FDA registration. It will be important to correlate the
findings of this technology with clinical outcomes. With this type of tool, it is conceivable
that once a drug has been approved, the same technology would allow us to monitor and
individualize cancer treatment on a patient-by-patient basis.”

OmniCorder is exclusively licensed by JPL to use the sensor technology, called
Quantum Well Infrared Photodetector, and also holds licenses from other organizations.
OmniCorder is a leading developer of non-invasive infrared disease detection systems. The
JPL sensor has been used in terrestrial applications, such as locating hot spots during fires,
and it has potential uses for search and rescue, spotting faulty welds and blockages, and
volcano observation. It also will fly sometime in the next several months on a small space
technology research vehicle mission to detect the severity of radiation in the Van Allen Belt.

SpaceRef staff editor.