VisionGate and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance join forces to explore new technology for evaluating lung cancer risk


Seattle, WA, December 17, 2008 – VisionGate, Inc. (a local privately held biomed/biotech company) today announced its collaboration with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) for the clinical development of a new lung cancer risk assessment test targeting current and former smokers. The test utilizes VisionGate’s Cell-CT platform that generates high-resolution threedimensional images of cells isolated from patient sputum (phlegm) to precisely measure cellular features and molecular markers. The collaboration will help to develop potential markers for early signs of cancer and pre-cancerous conditions.

When the lungs are exposed to carcinogenic insult, such as long-term smoking, the cells that form the inner lining of the airways undergo characteristic changes that correlate with increased risk of developing lung cancer. Sputum contains high numbers of these lung cells, and the Cell-CT  can automatically detect the appropriate cells and measure cellular features in 3D with unprecedented clarity. It is the goal of the study to investigate the generation of a lung cell evaluation score that potentially could be used by the physician as a patient management guide.

There are approximately 100 million current and former smokers in the U.S. alone, a risk groupwherein 80-90% of all lung cancer cases occur. Published studies show that early detection dramatically increases the chance of surviving lung cancer. Unfortunately, most lung cancers are detected in the late stage when symptoms have already arisen and treatment options are limited. Currently, there is no widely practiced screening or risk-assessment method for lung cancer.

Dr. Jason Chien, M.D., M.S., a pulmonary and critical-care specialist, directs the Lung Cancer Early Detection and Prevention clinic at the SCCA–a multidisciplinary clinic for current and former smokers to help assess the condition of patient’s lungs and encourage smoking cessation. The clinic was launched in January 2008 under the auspices of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The patient’s diagnostic evaluation includes an assessment of medical history, a lung function test, and, if clinically appropriate, a low-dose CT scan of the lungs to localize a potential lung tumor. Now under investigation is whether  VisionGate’s technology  for sputum analysis would provide an improved triage of patients who should receive the CT scan. In the initial phase of the collaboration with VisionGate, through a clinical study protocol that has been approved by the SCCA Institutional Review Board,  patients at Dr. Chien’s clinic can opt to provide their sputum sample for further refining and testing of the Cell-CT platform.

About Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, established in 1998, unites the adult and pediatric cancer-care services of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine and Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center. A major focus of SCCA is to speed the transfer of new diagnostic and treatment techniques from the research setting to the patient bedside while providing premier, patient-focused cancer care. Patients who come to SCCA receive the latest research-based cancer therapies as well as cutting-edge treatments for a number of non-malignant diseases under development by its partner organizations. SCCA has three clinical-care sites: an outpatient clinic on the Fred Hutchinson campus, a pediatric-inpatient unit at Children’s and an adult-inpatient unit at UW Medical Center. For more information about SCCA, visit www.seattlecca.org.

About VisionGate, Inc.

VisionGate, a privately held corporation in Washington State, has developed the proprietary 3D cell image analysis platform, the Cell-CT, based on the company’s broadly patented technology. The Cell-CT is capable of generating high-resolution 3D information from intact cells for automated analysis of cancer biomarkers.

visit VisionGate’s website at: www.visiongate3d.com


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