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VIPC Awards CCF Grant to UVA Health to Develop Transformative Radiation Technology for Precision PET Imaging and Therapy

Dr. Jiang He is pioneering a more effective and precise cancer treatment using radiolabeled PARP-1 inhibitors.

Radiotheranostics is an emerging field with substantial industry interest and a dynamically growing market thanks to the significant benefits already seen in cancer patients.”
— Dr.Jiang He, UVA School of Medicine

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES, April 2, 2024 /EINPresswire.com/ -- The Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC) today announced that UVA Health has been awarded a Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF) grant for $75,000 in support of research conducted by Dr. Jiang He. VIPC’s CCF programs have distributed more than $55 million to Virginia-based startups, entrepreneurs, and university-based inventors since 2012 in support of critical early technology testing and market validation efforts.

Within his lab at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, He and his team are pioneering the development of a transformative molecularly targeted radiation technology known as radiotheranostics. This innovative approach integrates non-invasive diagnostic imaging and precision therapy, adopting a “see and treat” strategy that represents a potent new method to address challenges in cancer treatment. By enabling the precise location of the disease and accurate staging of the patient’s cancer, therapeutics can be delivered to cancer cells with exceptional accuracy anywhere in the body. This game-changing approach spares most normal, healthy tissue and maximizes better patient outcomes.

The objective of the CCF grant is to develop theranostic agents that employ precision PET imaging and radiotherapy to target PARP-1, a crucial enzyme involved in DNA repair in cancer cells and a significant target for a range of cancers, including breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer. Doctors can use PET imaging to noninvasively measure the levels of PARP-1 in the tumor, potentially identifying patients who could benefit from specific anti-cancer therapies. Using a novel approach to isotopic labeling, He is building on an emerging opportunity that combines PET imaging, molecular radiotherapy, and PARP inhibitors. The inhibitors stop the repair of cancer cells, causing the cells to die and the tumor growth to halt. CCF funding will be instrumental in supporting the development of PARP inhibitors and testing their therapeutic efficacy.

“Radiotheranostics is an emerging field with substantial industry interest and a dynamically growing market thanks to the significant benefits already seen in cancer patients. While, however, there are two PARP imaging agents in clinical trials, neither can result in continuous signals of radiation for improved imaging and therapeutic effects the way our proposed treatment can. We anticipate that this approach, if successful, will offer the best-in-class radiolabeled PARP-1 inhibitor for cancer therapy,” said He, PhD, Associate Professor of Radiology and Medical Imaging at the UVA School of Medicine. “Our commitment is steadfast in bringing innovative cancer care. We are grateful to VIPC for playing a crucial role in supporting our efforts at just the right time.”

“Radiolabeled PARP inhibitors have exciting and significant potential in cancer therapy and can help address the unmet clinical needs of patients developing resistance to currently therapies. These radiolabeled inhibitors have a powerful potential that can improve treatment outcomes and survival rates, making them a promising area of research and development for the future,” said Hina Mehta, VIPC’s Director for University Programs. “The results stemming from this project will enable further translational development, clinical trials, and eventual FDA approval.”

About UVA Health
UVA Health is an academic health system that recently expanded to include four hospitals across Charlottesville, Culpeper, and Northern Virginia, along with the UVA School of Medicine, UVA School of Nursing, UVA Physicians Group, and the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library. With more than 1,000 inpatient beds, approximately 40,000 inpatient stays annually, and more than 1 million outpatient encounters annually at UVA Health, more than 1,000 employed and independent physicians provide high-quality, comprehensive, and specialized care to patients across the Commonwealth and beyond. Founded in 1819 as just the 10th medical school in America, the UVA School of Medicine – with 20 clinical departments, eight basic science departments, and six research centers – consistently attracts some of the nation’s most prominent researchers to develop breakthrough treatments to benefit patients around the world. Those research efforts are backed by more than $200 million in grant funding. UVA Health Children's is recognized as the No. 1 hospital in Virginia for children by U.S. News & World Report, with nine specialties rated among the top in America. More than 230 UVA physicians are honored on the Best Doctors in America list. For more information, resources, and to follow us on social media, please visit www.uvahealth.com.

About Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC)
Connecting innovators with opportunities. As the nonprofit operations arm of the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority (VIPA), VIPC is the commercialization and seed stage economic development driver in the Commonwealth that leads funding, infrastructure, and policy initiatives to support Virginia's innovators, entrepreneurs, startups, and market development strategies. VIPC also collaborates with local, regional, state, and federal partners to support the expansion and diversification of Virginia’s economy. 
 
Programs include: Virginia Venture Partners (VVP) | VVP Fund of Funds | Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF) | Petersburg Founders Fund (PFF) | Smart Communities | The Virginia Smart Community Testbed | The Virginia Unmanned Systems Center | Virginia Advanced Air Mobility Alliance (VAAMA) | The Public Safety Innovation Center (PSIC)| Entrepreneurial Ecosystems | Regional Innovation Fund (RIF) | Federal Funding Assistance Program (FFAP) for SBIR & STTR | University Partnerships | Startup Company Mentoring & Engagement. 

For more information, please visit www.VirginiaIPC.org. Explore the latest news from VIPC and images from VIPC-supported stakeholder events. Follow VIPC on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and LinkedIn.

About the Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF)
VIPC’s Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF) accepts applications and awards funding on a rolling basis to Virginia’s small businesses and university-based innovators. For Virginia’s academic and nonprofit research community, the competitive grant program seeks to fund high-potential Virginia-based academic research teams that are developing technologies with strong commercial potential. The grants support early technology and market validation efforts such as customer discovery, market research, business model validation, the development of prototypes or minimum viable products (MVPs), customer pilots, and intellectual property protection, team development, and more. For more information on funding opportunities and eligibility requirements, or to apply, visit the CCF pages from www.VirginiaIPC.org.

Angela Costello, Vice President of Communications
Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC)
angela.costello@VirginiaIPC.org
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