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STTR Phase I: An ultrasonic device for rapid tomographic rodent tissue and vasculature imaging

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1346336
Agency Tracking Number: 1346336
Amount: $225,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: BC
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2013
Award Year: 2014
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2014-01-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2015-06-30
Small Business Information
321 S Columbia St, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-0000
DUNS: 078519223
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Ryan Gessner
 (919) 428-1639
Business Contact
 Ryan Gessner
Phone: (919) 428-1639
Research Institution
 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
 104 AIRPORT DR STE 2200
 () -
 Nonprofit college or university
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will build a state of the art imaging tool for rodent disease quantification using ultrasound. Hundreds of millions of dollars in the US are spent annually on preclinical drug efficacy studies, as all candidate cancer therapeutics must be screened in rodents prior to any clinical trials. Academic and industry drug researchers make use of noninvasive imaging modalities to assess the in vivo longitudinal effects of their drugs. In vivo imaging studies enable researchers to assess tumor presence, functional status, and response to therapy without the need to sacrifice multiple animals at each assessment time point. Despite the widespread need for preclinical imaging, most research labs are not equipped with the imaging tools necessary to perform these studies. The project will implement ultrasound imaging, which beyond simple anatomical structural information, has recently demonstrated outstanding imaging quality for vascular architecture and blood perfusion assessment, and has several advantages over MR and CT, the other modalities used to acquire anatomical images: low cost, portability, and real-time imaging ability. The project proposes to build a high throughput, user-friendly, benchtop ultrasound-based tomographic rodent imaging device. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is based around the premise that cheaper and faster imaging studies will result in faster drug development in both academia and industry, and ultimately less expensive drugs for the consumer. Currently, due to high imaging system costs, academic research institutions offer imaging core facilities (ICFs) with a shared-space model. For industry researchers, contract research organizations (CROs) perform the same function. ICFs and CROs charge a premium for their services. An inexpensive and user-friendly preclinical technology for anatomical and vasculature quantitation would dramatically shift this paradigm. Moreover, it would help open up a minimally (<10%) penetrated preclinical imaging market (currently, under-addressed at approximately $300M in sales). Though there are many good ultrasound systems on the market, the preclinical research community cannot leverage the assets of ultrasound (inexpensive, portable, real time) for many applications because no manufacturer provides a whole-body system..

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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