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UT Health Science Center consolidates patents for medical records imaging system

Monday, September 6th, 2010

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) has reached an agreement with other institutions that will allow it to take the next step to commercialize a medical imaging system that uses night vision technology to tackle a common side effect of cancer treatment. Officials in the Office of Technology Management at UTHealth have consolidated patents and patent applications to the radiation-free system developed by UTHealth research scientist Eva Sevick, PhD, professor of molecular medicine at UTHealth’s Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases, and collaborators. The 19 patents and patent applications covering the system previously were held by Baylor College of Medicine, Purdue University, Texas A&M University, and UTHealth, which has assumed management of the entire portfolio.

Sevick’s system involves micro doses of fluorescent dyes and specially modified near-infrared cameras. With the aid of the light-sensitive cameras, clinicians can observe a fluorescent dye as it works its way through the lymphatic system, indicating valve behavior and flow dynamics. The fluorescent light emission can be seen through the skin by the camera. In contrast to systems that use computed tomography (CT) scanners or positron emission tomography (PET) imagers, the cameras used in Sevick’s system are relatively inexpensive and easy to use. Additionally, the contrast dyes are non-radioactive and can generate images at micro dosing levels, dramatically reducing the potential for side effects.

Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas A&M University System signed an agreement with UTHealth to consolidate the patent portfolio and make it available for commercial development. Sevick was a researcher at Texas A&M and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station when she was granted several of the patents. “This agreement provides a great example of local academic institutions working together to bundle intellectual property around an important, innovative technology to make it more attractive to commercial investment,” says Bruce D. Butler, PhD, vice president for research and technology at UTHealth. “We look forward to working with a commercial partner to get this technology into the clinic.”

Source: Medical News Today

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