Mån 24 jun / År 42 / Nr 3 2024

New Contrast Agent Improves MRI

The Swedish biotech company Spago Nanomedical has developed a unique nanomaterial that may serve as a new platform for diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

A product candidate, SN132D, was recently appointed for the lead project SpagoPix which means the company will enter regulatory GLP studies sometime during the first half of 2017.
”This is a great step forward for the company. Having a material ready for regulatory development is a considerable risk reduction for the SpagoPix project,” states Mats Hansen, CEO of Spago Nanomedical.
SpagoPix is a contrast agent for tumour selective MRI, based on manganese. It significantly increases the contrast between solid tumours and the surrounding non-tumour tissue. Sharper contrast between tumours and surrounding tissue gives more accurate diagnoses and, in the end, better and more cost-effective cancer treatments.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is most commonly used for detecting and diagnosing cancer. A problem with MRI is that the contrast agents used are not tumour selective, which leads to relatively poor contrast between tumours and non-tumour tissue. The risk of false positive findings (tumour findings that are not malignant) is therefore high. It not only leads to anxiety and suffering for the patient, but also to significant costs for unnecessary subsequent examinations.
”Our particles utilises the Enhanced Permeability and Retention (EPR) effect, which is manifested in many tumors that are surrounded by leaky blood vessels,” says Oskar Axelsson, CSO of Spago Nanomedical, and adds: “SpagoPix will accumulate in tumors and provide better contrast toward healthy tissue.”

Radionuclide Therapy
In addition to SpagoPix, the company is also developing Tumorad. It’s a project where nanoparticles are loaded with radionuclides (radioactive isotopes) allowing internal, tumour selective, radiotherapy.
”The advantage of radionuclide therapy over external beam radiation treatment is the possibility to selectively deliver the radioactive substance to tumours and thereby irradiate several soft tissue tumours or metastases simultaneously. The mechanism of action for Tumorad is based on passive accumulation in tumors by means of the EPR-effect, and Tumorad is thereby applicable in several tumour types. Since the radionuclide is locally accumulated in tumours, a lower total radiation dose is needed to achieve a therapeutic effect. Furthermore, radiation to non-tumour tissue can be minimised,” Oskar Axelsson comments.
”Our business model is to bring the projects to clinical phase. By then we expect to have added good value for all our stakeholders and will seek a licensing partner for further development to the market,” says Mats Hansen.
Spago Nanomedical AB is listed on Aktietorget since 2013 and is situated in Lund.