Fluorescence molecular imaging enables insight into newly discovered biologic pathway

AUGUST 11, 2009--VisEn Medical Inc. (Bedford, MA), provider of fluorescence in vivo imaging tools for research and medicine, says scientists reporting in the journal Science have discovered a key disease-related biologic pathway using an integrated array of in vitro readouts and advanced in vivo imaging technologies. The findings are expected to open up new areas of research and potentially advance therapeutic approaches to key disease areas including inflammation and myocardial injury.

AUGUST 11, 2009--VisEn Medical Inc. (Bedford, MA), provider of fluorescence in vivo imaging tools for research and medicine, says scientists reporting in the journal Science have discovered a key disease-related biologic pathway using an integrated array of in vitro readouts and advanced in vivo imaging technologies. The newly reported biologic pathway relates to monocyte deployment from the spleen to inflammatory sites, including myocardial infarction. The findings are expected to open up new areas of research and potentially advance therapeutic approaches to key disease areas including inflammation and myocardial injury.

The researchers, with the Massachusetts General Hospital's Center for Systems Biology (Boston, MA), found that monocytes were held in concentration in the spleen and released to injured tissue sites in the body to participate in wound healing. As presented in the findings, the reporting scientists discovered and detailed the biologic pathway through the use of a series of advanced and integrated in vitro assays, microscopic readouts, and in vivo imaging methodologies, including magnetic resonance (MR) imaging combined with quantitative fluorescence molecular tomographic (FMT) imaging.

Used together in a series of novel scientific models, the researchers developed correlated data sets to both identify this previously unidentified splenic reservoir of monocytes, and demonstrate the monocyte deployment to inflammatory sites in vivo. In the in vivo data analysis, non-invasive, quantitative FMT imaging using novel fluorescent molecular imaging agents, combined with MR imaging, clearly demonstrated not only the location, but also the biological activity of the recruited splenic monocytes at the disease site, thus helping to confirm "unambiguously the fate of monocytes from the spleen to the heart."

"We see the integration of in vitro and in vivo readouts becoming increasingly important in research today, and we are extremely pleased that our FMT quantitative in vivo imaging technology and activatable in vivo imaging agents were able to help the research team answer some of the key questions about this important biologic pathway in vivo," said Dr. Jeffrey Peterson, VP, Applied Biology at VisEn Medical. "When cardiac molecular imaging data from the FMT was combined with MRI imaging, the researchers were able to create a fused molecular and anatomical imaging map of the heart to identify and quantify biomarkers of monocyte activity in vivo. These results enabled an important data correlation that further enhanced the integrated array of in vitro assays and microscopy-based readouts of this important pathway."

For more information see the paper, "Identification of Splenic Reservoir Monocytes and Their Deployment to InflamIdentification of Splenic Reservoir Monocytes and Their Deploymatory Sites," on the Science site, or visit VisEn's website.

Posted by Barbara G. Goode, barbarag@pennwell.com, for BioOptics World.

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