Invitrogen Corporation has announced a collaborative agreement with Signalomics to develop nanocrystal reagents with the ability to enhance the identification of tumors in in vivo patient tissue by detecting the presence of a single cancerous cell - improving the ability to excise the tumor more rapidly and completely.
The initial goal of the collaboration is to develop an imaging agent that can be used to identify colon carcinomas requiring surgical intervention.
"Our technology allows us to label the signal molecules of a cell and then visualize cells with faulty signaling, such as cancer cells," explained Dr. Christoph Block, CEO of Signalomics GmbH.
"This approach allows physicians and scientists to diagnose diseased tissue as well as design therapeutics targeted to the faulty signal transduction."
"Cooperating with a strong partner like Invitrogen will accelerate our development, allowing this important technology to reach patients faster."
Signalomics is developing a nanobiotechnology-based in vivo diagnostics platform by coupling designer proteins with fluorescent semiconductor crystals.
These nanocrystal-protein conjugates, which are only a few millionths of a millimeter in size and are extremely photostable, can be targeted to faulty signaling proteins that are expressed in tumor tissue.
Once introduced into a cell, they can be visualized by applying a laser light of a specific wavelength, which makes the nanocrystal-protein conjugates emit light in different colors.
The colors of the light help to identify cells with faulty signal molecules and allow detection of single tumor cell in vivo.
"Invitrogen, with tools and products like Dynal magnetic beads, Caltag antibodies and Molecular Probes labeling technologies, has long been a leading enabler of the development of diagnostic products," said John "Kip" Miller, Invitrogen's Senior Vice President, Enabling Technologies.
"We are always eager to participate in R&D programs that will push the envelope as far as molecular diagnostics are concerned, and this collaboration allows us to leverage the unique capabilities of our Quantum Dot nanocrystals in the pursuit of earlier cancer diagnosis."
Through this agreement, Signalomics is continuing the joint development and identification of novel nanobiotech diagnostic products that it began in 2004 in cooperation with the BioPixels business unit of BioCrystal Ltd.
Invitrogen Corporation announced the acquisition of both the BioPixels business and Quantum Dot Corporation on October 6, 2005.