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New venture explores frontiers of personalized medicine

Pharmaceuticals that seek out cancerous cells and deliver treatments to them; imaging techniques that can help doctors detect diseases before the physical signs begin to appear; and medicines that are tailor-made for individual patients, are within the sights of an exciting new Australian start-up venture.

Clarity Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd is a new venture, which could lead to a revolution in the future of medical diagnosis and treatment.

To launch the company, Clarity has secured licences to technology developed by the University of Melbourne and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).

Dr Matt Harris, Managing Director of TM Ventures says the basis of Clarity Pharmaceuticals is exciting new compounds developed by scientists from ANSTO and the University of Melbourne for use in positron emission tomography (PET).

"PET is the fastest growing nuclear medicine modality. Whilst tests such as X-ray and MRI provide information on anatomy and structure, PET uses the movement of radiopharmaceuticals through the body to examine metabolic processes, such as heart and brain function in real time," he said.

"Based on foundational research undertaken by the University of Melbourne and ANSTO, Clarity Pharmaceuticals is the future of personalised medicine."

Research teams from both the University of Melbourne and ANSTO have developed new compounds that significantly improve the accuracy of PET imaging.

These compounds can also be used in treatment to target therapeutics to specific disease sites and then to accurately monitor how well that treatment is working.

"These agents are targeted to selectively illuminate diseased tissue. The new compounds have the potential to provide clinicians with valuable diagnostic information to guide, improve and assess treatment regimes," said Dr Paul Donnelly from the University of Melbourne's School of Chemistry.

"Using PET images, doctors will have the potential to improve diagnosis and provide a personal prognosis. Ongoing monitoring using PET will determine progress and enable the refining of treatment options," he said.

According to ANSTO General Manager of Business Development, Rosanne Robinson, this exciting venture will enable even wider community accessibility to PET technology with great outcomes.

"For patients with cancer, this treatment could be revolutionary. No longer would patients suffer from the terrible side effects of chemotherapy because treatment could be precise, targeted and effective," she said.

In addition, the high calibre of research from which Clarity Pharmaceuticals has been founded, was acknowledged by the Victorian Government through the awarding of a Victoria Fellowship to a member of Dr Donnelly's research team, Dr Michelle Ma.


Contact: Rebecca Scott
University of Melbourne

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