We recently announced that our MagSense® diagnostic technology has the potential to target prostate cancer tumors, making this the second cancer type the technology has shown potential in.
Our President and CEO, Bob Proulx, joined The Market Herald team to discuss the development further.
Welcome to the Boardroom. Imagion Biosystems ASX code IBX, recently presented some encouraging preclinical data around how its diagnostic imaging technology can be applied to prostate cancer. That was at the World Molecular Imaging Congress in Miami. CEO Robert Proulx joins us now to share more details about this important development for the company.
Good morning Sonia. Thanks for the invitation.
What has Imagion’s preclinical research been able to show?
We’re very excited by what we reported at the congress because it shows for the first time that our technology isn’t isolated just to breast cancer, but can be applied to other types of cancer like prostate cancer. We can substitute a targeting molecule for breast cancer, for a targeting molecule for prostate cancer and get the same kind of specific ability to target tumor cells.
In a nutshell, what is Imagion Biosystems technology, and how does it work?
We use magnetic nanoparticles as a sort of magnetic beacon to be able to tag cancers and then be able to use magnetic imaging to be able to detect their presence. So instead of using radioactive isotopes and tracers to be able to identify tumors, we can now use magnetic imaging’s ability to do that. But instead of just getting an image of the tumor, we actually get a signature associated with our particles targeting the specific type of cancer.
And no one’s done this before?
Magnetic particles have been used for general-purpose imaging, but not to get that molecular specificity. And so this is the first of its kind product. Using molecular imaging by magnetic particles to specifically identify various types of cancer. This is the first of its kind.
What could this mean for breast cancer and prostate cancer patients down the track?
Today, we use imaging to be able to identify suspicious lesions or regions of interest, but we don’t know for sure whether what we see is in fact cancer. This will transform that kind of imaging to be able to say, Oh, if I see a magnetic signature, I know it’s because I have a specific targeting molecule, targeting prostate cancer or targeting breast cancer. It will help transform imaging from identifying a spot to saying, no, that spot is in fact cancer.
How quickly could this technology be available to patients?
I think we’re still a couple of years away from being able to be available to patients. We have to go through the rigors of formal clinical studies. We’re in a clinical study for our first product, but unlike the development of a drug where we have to prove that it’s efficacious for treatment, we have to demonstrate that it’s efficacious for detection. And that’s a relatively small hurdle compared to demonstrating that we’ve cured cancer, so to speak, but we probably are a couple of years away from actually seeing it get into patients.
Now, we’ve talked about breast cancer and prostate cancer. Is it possible this technology will also help in the diagnosis of other cancers?
Yes. I think as long as we have a way to specifically target that type of cancer, that there’s a peptide or an antibody that’s specific for that type of cancer. We’ve now demonstrated we feel with the prostate cancer work that we can substitute that targeting molecule, put it on our magnetic particle, and have it work in the same way. So we’ll now begin to look at other forms of cancer where we have known biomarkers that are highly specific for those cancers.
So before we go, what can investors take away from Imagion’s progress?
I think the main message that I would say is the promise we had at the beginning, that we have an underlying platform to be able to transform imaging from the region of interest to a molecularly specific signature is now starting to bear itself out that we’ve demonstrated it, we’re in the clinic with a product for breast cancer and we’ve now demonstrated preclinically that in fact we, we can target prostate cancer. I think that it means that we can develop a pipeline of products using our underlying technology and that’s big for our company, that we’re not just a single product company.
Well, thank you so much for the update, Robert Proulx from Imagion Biosystems. We’ll see you again soon.
Read The Market Herald’s article to support this interview, HERE.
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