DURHAM, N.C. -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Polarean, Inc., a pioneer in hyperpolarized gas technology, announced today that the Canadian Patent Office has allowed two additional patents on the Company’s modular hyperpolarized gas MRI technology. This expands the worldwide patent coverage already provided by Polarean’s patent estate of 34 patent families, acquired from GE Healthcare in early 2012. Polarean manufactures products based on this patented technology for sale worldwide to basic researchers and pharmaceutical companies conducting clinical research.
Polarean’s technology addresses a significant need in pulmonary research and drug development. The technology produces hyperpolarized inert gas, used in conjunction with standard MRI imaging to create high resolution 3-dimensional images of the human lung. This technique is a unique way to monitor extremely small changes in lung structure and lung function, and is used in basic and clinical research to study lung physiology and to monitor the efficacy of new drugs. Because the technique does not rely on X-rays, CAT scans or radioactive contrast agents, subjects can be scanned repeatedly to monitor small changes in lung structure over time without the risk of radiation exposure.
Since acquiring the technology and beginning commercial operations in 2012, Polarean has supplied its polarizers to a number of leading researchers in the US and Europe. “We’re pleased to be able to support basic researchers and pharmaceutical companies with our polarizer systems,” says Dr. Bastiaan Driehuys, the company’s founder and Chief Scientific Officer. “They’re built to be flexible and modular, accommodating the varied research needs of our customer base.” The Biomedical Research Imaging Center at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a recent adopter of the technology. Assistant Professor Rosa Tamara Branca has glowing praise for both the system and the Polarean team. “Installation and training were done in one week and we were able to run our first hyperpolarized xenon gas experiment soon after without any delay,” says Branca.
The commercial supply of xenon and helium hyperpolarizers for pulmonary research is just the beginning for Polarean, because the potential utility for hyperpolarized gas MRI goes far beyond lung disease. Dr. Driehuys continues, “We have always felt that hyperpolarized gas MRI is an enormously powerful research platform. The potential applications are limited only by the imagination of the scientists who use it. We are thrilled to finally be able to expand the access to the scientific and pharmaceutical community, and in doing so, we expect to see not only great progress in imaging lung disease, but novel applications in molecular imaging in other organs too.”
Contact Polarean, Inc. to learn more about the applications of hyperpolarized noble gases. www.polarean.com
Hi-res images of the xenon hyperpolarizer machine and the Polarean logo can be downloaded at: www.polareanimages.com
Polarean, Inc. launched in 2012, after securing all assets and intellectual property for hyperpolarized gas MRI from GE Healthcare. Located in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina, Polarean designs and manufactures equipment for production of hyperpolarized xenon or helium gas. When used in conjunction with MRI, these gases offer a fundamentally new and non-invasive functional imaging platform. Current investigational uses include identifying early diagnoses of respiratory diseases as well as monitoring progression and therapeutic response. In addition, xenon gas exhibits solubility and signal properties that enable it to be imaged within other tissues and organs as well. Polarean hyperpolarization systems are currently sold in the United States and internationally for research and investigational applications only.
The central equipment required for hyperpolarized gas MRI is a polarizer. Using circularly polarized laser light, the polarizer transforms the inert, stable noble gas isotopes 3He and 129Xe into their hyperpolarized states. This process leaves the gases chemically unchanged, while their nuclei are magnetically aligned. The resulting MRI signal is enhanced by a factor of x100,000, making direct imaging of gas molecules possible.
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