Tech Transfer eNews Blog

Georgia State researchers develop technology to enable noninvasive testing of early-stage liver disease

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 6th, 2019

Researchers at Georgia State University (GSU) have developed a safer, more sensitive contrast agent for MRI tests that may provide the first noninvasive method for detecting and diagnosing early-stage liver diseases such as liver fibrosis.

The contrast agent ProCA32.collagen1 targets over-expression of the biomarker collagen during the disease state. Tests in animal models show the agent can detect the early stage of alcohol-induced liver fibrosis and Non-Alcoholic SteatoHepatitis, the most severe form of non-alcohol fatty liver disease.

The technology has proven to be twice as accurate as conventional contrast agents and can detect tumors 100 times smaller than those detected by current agents. Since it requires a significantly lower dosage than standard agents, it lowers the risk of toxicity.

“It’s a revolutionary change for the field as the first robust detection of the early stage of liver fibrosis,” says Jenny Yang, chemistry professor at GSU. “This would help doctors monitor treatment before it is irreversible and help pharmaceutical companies to select the right patients for clinical trials or identify subjects for drug discovery.”

Yang intends to commercialize the novel contrast agent through her startup InLighta BioSciences. The start-up’s next step is to gain approval from the FDA to conduct clinical trials at Emory University Hospital.

Source: Georgia State University News Hub

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