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Celsense, Inc Receives NIH Grant to Translate Cell Imaging Technology for Clinical Use
Date:6/2/2009

NIH funds human clinical testing of the cell trafficking MRI reagent, Cell Sense.

Pittsburgh, PA (Vocus) June 2, 2009 -- Celsense, Inc. announced today that it is one of the recipients in a 4-year $1.95M grant from the National Institutes of Health. The funded studies will be the first effort to evaluate Cell Sense, the Company’s fluorocarbon-based magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) cell tracking reagent, for clinical use. Additionally, the studies will garner preliminary data critically important for improving immunotherapeutic delivery strategies in metastatic colorectal (CRC) and other forms of cancer.

The Cell Sense technology makes transplanted cells visible by MRI. Therapeutic cells are labeled ex vivo with the Cell Sense reagent prior to administration to the patient. Cell migration and biodistribution are subsequently monitored using fluorine-19 (19F) MRI or magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). The key advantage of Cell Sense is that the 19F images are extremely selective for the labeled cells, with no background signal from the host’s tissues. Furthermore, accurate cell quantification in regions of interest is possible.

Existing data from pre-clinical studies using human cells show that the Cell Sense reagent is highly biocompatible inside cells and does not affect their innate function. A clinical-grade version of the Cell Sense reagent has been formulated by Celsense, Inc. and is currently being subjected to mandatory in vitro and animal safety studies in preparation for human trials.

To conduct this project, Celsense has partnered with academia, including scientists at Carnegie Mellon University, where the imaging technology was invented in the laboratory of Dr. Ahrens. Also participating is the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) which is actively conducting clinical trials using immunotherapeutic dendritic cell (DC) vaccines to treat CRC, directed by Drs. Kalinski and Bartlett.

About Colorectal Cancer (CRC)
CRC is the third leading cancer in the United States and the most common form of gastrointestinal malignancy. CRC accounts for approximately 150,000 new cases annually. Immunotherapeutic interventions using live-cell DC vaccines may potentially be effective in CRC patients. To date, the inability to accurately follow the location of the cells after transfer to the patient is one of the critical bottlenecks in the development and delivery of cancer immunotherapies.

About Cell Sense
Cell Sense (patent-pending) is a fluorocarbon tracer agent used to safely and efficiently label cells ex vivo without the use of transfection agents. Labeled cells are transplanted into the patient enabling researchers and clinicians to non-invasively track the administration and migration of therapeutic and/or diagnostic cells using 19F MRI or MRS. Applications include tracking cells in immunotherapy or regenerative medicine as well as diagnosis of inflammatory sites by tracking selected populations of immune cells. Using software developed by Celsense, investigators can quantify the number of labeled cells in a user-specified region of interest. It is expected that in vivo cellular imaging will routinely be used to provide a surrogate biomarker for certain cellular therapeutic and drug trials.

About Celsense, Inc.
Celsense, Inc. is a biotechnology company offering novel pre-clinical and clinical-grade cellular and molecular imaging agents used to non-invasively monitor biological processes in living systems. The core innovations of the Company involve proprietary imaging agents that can be used to observe the trafficking of cells using magnetic resonance techniques. Celsense’s mission is to be the standard for cellular imaging in human health. For more information, see Celsense.com.

Information Contact: Charlie O’Hanlon, President and CEO of Celsense, Inc.

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Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/Celsense/2009-6-1/prweb2483234.htm.


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