SEATTLE, May, 2, 2008 – Swedish Cancer Institute announced today it is collaborating with VisionGate, Inc. – a privately held biomed/biotech company based in Seattle – to provide samples from lung-cancer patients for further development of VisionGate’s Cell-CT platform, an automated cell analysis instrument that employs patented 3D computed tomographic scanning of intact biological cells to screen patients for early indications of cancer risk. The company’s LuCED (Lung Cell Evaluation Device) test, which is analyzed on the platform, uses a person’s sputum for non-invasive early detection of lung cancer.
Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer worldwide with more than 162,000 deaths in the United States this year and 500 deaths per day in North America. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the annual incidence of lung cancer now approaches 1,000,000 new cases worldwide. To date, due to the lack of a cost-effective early detection method, lung cancer is usually diagnosed late when treatment options are less effective. “Our participation in this clinical trial is an example of our dedication to exploring and perfecting the best cancer treatment opportunities available, including the development of screening programs aimed at providing the earliest indication that a patient is at risk,” said Albert B. Einstein Jr., M.D., executive director of the 75-year-old Swedish Cancer Institute.
“We are pleased to be working with VisionGate on this clinical tial,” said Ralph Aye, M.D., thoracic surgeon and principal investigator for the VisionGate study at the Swedish Cancer Institute. “Since we are committed to exploring leading-edge technologies designed to improve patient outcomes in a cost-effective manner, VisionGate’s LuCED test definitely fits that profile.”
Alan Nelson, Ph.D., VisionGate’s Chairman and CEO, said, “The highly accomplished team at Swedish, and their leadership in the field of cancer research and patient management, will no doubt provide VisionGate with important guidance toward the successful implementation of the LuCED test as a new tool in lung cancer screening. We are honored to be working with Dr. Aye and the Swedish Cancer Institute in this pivotal research program.”
Early detection can dramatically increase the chance of surviving lung cancer, but most lung cancers are detected in later stages after symptoms occur and therapies are less likely to be successful. To date, no widely practiced screening method for lung cancer is in use, although there are approximately 90 million current and former smokers in the United States alone, a risk group in which 80 percent to 90 percent of all lung cancer cases will occur.
For that reason, the Swedish Cancer Institute has entered into this clinical-trial collaboration with VisionGate, which is dedicated to the early detection of lung cancer. VisionGate has developed the Cell-CT platform, a technology that allows automated screening of patient sputum for cells obtained with the LuCED sample collection kit. The cells are imaged in 3D, which allows for the measurement of cellular features that are indicative of cancer. The cell analysis of patient sputum is then translated into a risk score that can help guide a physician’s further diagnostic workup, such as low-dose CT Scan or bronchoscopy.
The Swedish Cancer Institute is participating in VisionGate’s efforts to develop the LuCED screening test for lung cancer by providing cell specimens from cancer patients, which are used for instrument training and testing.
VisionGate’s other participant sites in this clinical trial include the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, NY; the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada; and the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. The Swedish Cancer Institute is VisionGate’s first collaborator in the Pacific Northwest.
About the Swedish Cancer Institute
The Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) opened in 1932 as the first dedicated cancer-care center west of the Mississippi. Today, SCI has a presence on all three of Swedish’s hospital campuses – First Hill, Cherry Hill and Ballard – as well as in East King County through a new medical oncology clinic in Bellevue. A true multidisciplinary program, SCI offers a wide range of advanced cancer-treatment options in chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery – backed by extensive diagnostic capabilities, patient education and support-group services. SCI-managed radiation-therapy services are also offered at Stevens Hospital in Edmonds, Highline Community Hospital in Burien, and Northwest Hospital in North Seattle. The SCI clinical-research arm encompasses industry-sponsored and cooperative group therapeutic trials, cancer screening and prevention trials, and investigator-initiated trials. Breast-cancer screening and diagnostics are available through the Swedish Breast Care Centers and mobile mammography units. SCI patients benefit from an integrated approach to care which takes into account a person’s physical well-being and emotional/spiritual needs, too. From prevention and early detection, to state-of-the-art treatments and complementary therapies, to supportive and palliative care, SCI meets the individual needs of each patient. For more information, visit www.swedish.org
About VisionGate, Inc.
VisionGate, Inc. has developed the Cell-CT platform, which is an innovative, cell-analysis system based on the company’s broadly patented technologies. The Cell-CT platform generates high-resolution 3D images of intact cells and their internal structures for automated analysis of features that reflect the disease state of cells, including pre-cancer and cancer conditions. VisionGate’s Cell-CT platform with associated reagents and disposables is entering clinical studies on human subjects in the United States, Canada and Europe to further develop the company’s proprietary LuCED test for early detection of lung cancer. VisionGate, Inc. is a privately held company based in Seattle, Wash. For more information, visit www.visiongate3d.com