Zenalux Announces Grants from the National Institute of Health for Cancer Screening
Grants pave the way for cervical cancer screening studies in Latin America, Africa, and India
DURHAM, NC – November 4, 2015 – Zenalux Biomedical, Inc., a leader in biophotonic diagnostics, has been awarded a grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to further develop the Zenascope® to screen for cancer by employing imaging and reducing operator error. Zenalux is also participating in an Academic Industry Partnership with Duke University to screen for cervical cancer in a number of low-resource settings. “These grants represent a collaborative effort with Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering, the School of Medicine, the Duke Global Health Institute, and several East African institutions. The grants will allow Zenalux to integrate sensor feedback and imaging into the Zenascope—thereby delivering precision spectroscopy as well as imaging in a single portable unit—with the goal of implementing the Zenascope in the field in a multi-center study,” said Daniel Stevenson, VP of R&D at Zenalux.
Over the past year, the project team has worked closely with international partners and has received regulatory approval to conduct clinical studies in Lima, Peru and Nairobi, Kenya. Regulatory approval with other planned sites is in-progress. Multi-center clinical studies are targeted to begin in Peru after completing evaluation at Duke. Other sites that will follow include Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, and a number of locations in India.
In areas where neither HPV testing nor Pap smears are routinely available, the typical method used for screening is visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA), which can produce inaccurate results. The Zenascope system is a specialized, real-time, non-invasive, diagnostic device that shines white light on opaque target media and then measures and analyzes the reflected signal. Imaging is used for the surveillance of the acetowhitened cervix and the spectroscopy device interrogates total hemoglobin concentration, oxygen saturation, and the reduced scattering coefficient extracted from diffuse reflectance measurements using a scalable Monte Carlo model that was developed by Zenalux.
Zenalux also presented data collected with the Zenascope at the Global Non-Communicable Disease Research conference. The findings, which focused on the use of the Zenascope in cervical pre-cancer screening in East Africa where neither HPV testing nor Pap smears are routinely available, showed promise in being able to detect cervical dysplasia.
The Zenascope® system can also easily be tuned to include additional absorbers of interest. This unique capability is expected to enable improved diagnosis, better treatment, and ultimately cost reduction in the health care system. The system is currently designated for investigational use only. Application areas currently include accelerating feedback in drug discovery; breast tumor margin assessment; response to therapy; breast biopsy; cervical cancer detection; and head and neck cancer detection.
About Zenalux Biomedical, Inc.
Zenalux Biomedical is a biomedical diagnostics start-up company that is developing novel biophotonic-based tools to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer as well as other disease states. The company has established its leadership in biophotonics through its deep ties to Duke University and growing relationships with other leaders in the industry. The company’s flagship product is the Zenascope, a patent-protected, photonic system that non-destructively measures dominant tissue chromophores (such as oxygenated hemoglobin, deoxygenated hemoglobin and beta-carotene) as well as changes in cellular morphology and density. The system is currently designated for investigational use only. Applications areas currently under study include: accelerating feedback in drug discovery, breast tumor margin assessment, breast biopsy, and cervical cancer and head and neck cancer detection. The Zenascope is currently designated for investigational purposes only. Zenalux Biomedical is based in Durham, N.C. Visit www.zenalux.com.
Keywords: Zenalux, Zenascope, cervical cancer, PC1, biomedical, biophotonics, pre-clinical, diagnostics, NIH, National Institute of Health