Rensselaer, NY (April 19, 2011) – Integrated Tissue Dynamics, LLC ("INTIDYN") announced today its receipt of a $300,000 award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) as part of the Agency’s Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program.
The STTR program is a highly competitive, three-phase award system that provides qualified small businesses and their academic collaborators with funding to evaluate the scientific and technical merit of an innovative idea. The STTR grant announced today enables INTIDYN to further develop, refine and adapt its proprietary ChemoMorphometric Analysis (ITD-CMA) methodology, which received international attention in December 2009 when it was used to discover a hidden sensory system in the skin.i
"This new grant allows us to assess the unique biochemical causes of pain in post-herpetic neuralgia, a condition certain patients experience after recovering from shingles," said Frank L. Rice, Ph.D., CEO of INTIDYN. "The cause of that pain is a mystery and varies from patient to patient. We expect this new investment in our ITD-CMA technology to generate extremely informative and actionable data that will allow physicians to zero-in on the exact cause of a person’s pain and target it with an appropriate and effective treatment."
The ITD-CMA methodology is a platform technology that is applicable to a wide variety of medical conditions, particularly those that affect the skin and other tissues either directly or as a side effect. INTIDYN has partnered on the STTR with co-Principal investigators and Albany Medical College (AMC) neurologists Charles E. Argoff, M.D., Professor of Neurology, and James Wymer, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Neurology, who will work directly with patients and help correlate INTIDYN’s data with each patient’s clinical status.
About the Use of ITD-CMA in this Study
Doctors who treat patients with shingles (herpes zoster rash) find that about 30% of people experience chronic pain at the skin site of the healed rash long after all other symptoms have subsided, a condition termed post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). Unfortunately, doctors do not understand how or why the chronic pain occurs or which patients will develop pain. However, the AMC physicians and INTIDYN scientists believe that by examining skin samples (or "biopsies") from patients who have ongoing pain -- and comparing that skin with skin biopsies from people who have healed -- it will be possible to identify the physical changes taking place inside the skin that cause pain. (The biopsy is about 3mm in diameter, about half the size of a pencil eraser.)
This NINDS grant provides funds for the physicians to obtain the biopsies and for INTIDYN to analyze them using the ITD-CMA platform pioneered by the company. ITD-CMA enables scientists to look at the structure of the skin's nerves and blood vessels and look at the biochemical activity within the skin. INTIDYN scientists look for differences between the chemistry and structure of diseased skin and healthy skin. This type of tissue structure and chemistry information will help lead to a better understanding of the chronic pain mechanisms and to improved treatment options for PHN.
Biopharmaceutical companies utilize ITD-CMA in their research projects because the information generated can be used to spot side effects, infer the way a potential therapeutic drug is interacting with a disease, or monitor what happens in the regular course of disease.
"We will pursue a Phase II STTR grant with results from this study, which will allow us to scale up and make ITD-CMA more powerful and commercially viable," said Dr. Rice. “The results of that Phase of research and the ongoing refinement of our technology are of great interest to the biopharmaceutical industry, so we hope to soon see INTIDYN’s CMA become a mainstream drug target discovery tool."
INTIDYN recently signed ITD-CMA research agreements with several biopharmaceutical companies and is in discussions with others to help those companies develop better therapeutics in a variety of pressing medical conditions.
About Integrated Tissue Dynamics (INTIDYN)
Integrated Tissue Dynamics, LLC, also known as Intidyn (www.Intidyn.com), provides flexible and scalable research capabilities on behalf of pharmaceutical companies to detect chemical and structural changes in the skin. Such changes are associated with the chronic numbness, pain and itch associated with a wide variety of afflictions such as diabetes, complex regional pain syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, chemotherapy, vascular conditions and even the unintended side effects caused by many drugs.
Albany Medical College
At Albany Medical College, one of the nation’s oldest medical schools, basic research scientists work to facilitate discoveries that translate into medical innovations at patients’ bedsides. NIH-funded scientists are conducting research in many exciting areas including infectious disease, biodefense, addiction, cancer, pain, and more. Albany Medical Center is northeastern New York's only academic health sciences center. It consists of Albany Medical College, Albany Medical Center Hospital; and the Albany Medical Center Foundation, Inc. Additional information about Albany Medical Center can be found at www.amc.edu.
About NINDS and the NIH
The project described was supported by Award Number 1R41NS070387-01 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) (www.ninds.nih.gov), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The content in this press release is solely the responsibility of INTIDYN and does not necessarily represent the official view of NINDS or the NIH.
NINDS is the nation's leading funder of research on the brain and nervous system. The NINDS mission is to reduce the burden of neurological disease — a burden borne by every age group, by every segment of society, by people all over the world.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
Dr. Frank L. Rice, PhD
8866-610-7581, ext. 102
Integrated Tissue Dynamics (INTIDYN)
iBowsher D, et al. Absence of pain with hyperhidrosis: A new syndrome where vascular afferents may mediate cutaneous sensation. PAIN. 2009 Dec 15;147(1-3):287-98