Houston: Houston-based University hassigned an agreement with other institutions that will allow itto take the next step in commercially developing an innovativemedical imaging system that uses night vision technology totackle a common side effect of cancer treatment. ls in the Office of Technology Management atUniversity of Texas Health Science Centre (UTHealth) haveconsolidated all patents and patent applications to theradiation-free system developed by UTHealth research scientistEva Sevick, PhD and collaborators.
Lymphedema occurs in 0.6 per cent of live births,according to the Lymphatic Research Foundation (LRF); however,most acquire it as result of surgery, infection or trauma thatinterferes with the lymphatic system. Approximately 30 per cent of breast cancer survivorsdevelop lymphedema, according to the LRF. The 19 patents and patent applications covering thesystem were previously held by a total of four separateacademic institutions: Baylor College of Medicine, PurdueUniversity, Texas A&M University and UTHealth. UTHealth recently assumed management of the entireportfolio. Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas A&MUniversity System signed an agreement with UTHealth to makethe consolidation of the patent portfolio a reality and tomake the entire portfolio available for commercialdevelopment. During Sevick`s five years with Texas A&M and theTexas Engineering Experiment Station, she was granted severalof these patents. "This agreement provides a great example of localacademic institutions working together to bundle intellectualproperty around an important, innovative technology to make itmore attractive to commercial investment. We look forward toworking with a commercial partner to get this technology intothe clinic," said Bruce D Butler, PhD., vice president forresearch and technology at UTHealth. The system involves micro doses of fluorescent dyesand specially modified near infrared cameras. With the aid of the light sensitive cameras, Sevickand her colleagues can observe a fluorescent dye as it worksits way through the lymphatic system, indicating valvebehavior and flow dynamics.
The fluorescent light emission can be seen through theskin by the camera. In contrast to systems that use computed tomography(CT) scanners or positron emission tomography (PET) imagers,the cameras used in this system are relatively inexpensive andeasy to use, Sevick said. Additionally, the contrast dyes used in this systemare non-radioactive and can generate images at micro dosinglevels. The ability to administer micro doses dramaticallyreduces the potential for side effects to the patient from thedyes and facilitates approval of the technology through theregulatory process, she said. PTI
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