Dr. H. Andreas Kalmes, Vice President of Pharmacology of CellCyte Genetics Corporation based in Bothell, Washington, talked about imaging technology solutions the biotechnology company is using in an interview published in the July issue of Biophotonics International Magazine.
This technology is used to advance CellCyte's work in discovering and developing stem cell therapeutic products that will make delivery of the cells to specific organs much more specific and efficient.
Dr. Kalmes explained how CellCyte's therapeutic products, the first of which is under development for patients with myocardial infarction (heart attack), have been discovered by use of a single-photon-emission computed tomography (SPECT) system.
In early studies with these drugs, 70 to 80 percent of cells reached the heart, and a majority portion of them remained there. To aid the drugs' development, Dr. Kalmes said the company recently purchased the NanoSPECT/CT system from Bioscan Inc.
This system, which is designed for use in small animals, increases imaging sensitivity ten-fold and improves spatial resolution to the sub-millimeter range. The animal-imaging system combines SPECT and X-ray Computed Tomography (CT), a radiological imaging system that offers animal anatomy maps.
"To get really precise localization, you need an anatomic map of the animal," said Dr. Kalmes, who has an extensive background in biomedical research with expertise in preclinical cardiovascular disease models. He also noted that conventional CT offers a "very nice picture of the skeleton" and even some degree of soft tissue contrast. The combined system provides precise information about the localization of delivered stem cells the company needs, he said.
Dr. Kalmes said CellCyte and Bioscan have signed an agreement to collaborate to develop the SPECT/CT system further for the specific needs of the drug-developing company. Representatives from both companies will meet to discuss ways in which to optimize the software for dual-isotope imaging.
"We will be able to track the localization of the delivered stem cells and at the same time monitor the biodistribution of our drugs, which is very important for us," said Dr. Kalmes. He also noted that both CellCyte and Bioscan intend to streamline data tracking to keep track of all the study parameters so they are readily available when the time comes to submit an application to the FDA.