SUMMARY OF INVENTION
Certain surgeries pose a high risk of unintentional nerve injury and can result in serious adverse events including loss of function of the limbs/organs, pain, and/or muscle paralysis. Indeed, prevention of nerve damage during oncologic surgeries can be particularly difficult as human anatomy is commonly distorted by the disease. While ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging tools are available, both have limited intraoperative utility.
Researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering have developed a fluorescent toxin (Hs1a-FL) capable of binding sodium channel Nav1.7 to demarcate peripheral nerves during surgery. The Hs1a peptide was conjugated to a near-infrared fluorophore to minimize autofluorescence and improve fluorescence tissue penetration. The imaging agent was validated in a rodent preclinical model and accumulated at the mouse sciatic nerve as detected by epifluorescence in fresh, unprocessed tissue. This fluorescent molecule may provide real time information during surgery to minimize the potential for iatrogenic nerve damage.
- Fluorescent toxin displayed high selectivity over other sodium channels in proof-of-principle experiments.
- The peptide can be formulated with fluorescent or radiolabeled probes.
Broad market potential given the potential severity of nerve damage during surgery. Surgical procedures that pose a high risk of nerve damage include, but are not limited to: parotidectomies, thyroid and urologic surgeries, carpal tunnel syndrome surgery, and osteotomy.
AREAS OF APPLICATIONS
Can be employed as an intraoperative imaging agent to detect delicate nerve fibers during surgery or as a biomarker/diagnostic agent to help quantify the extent of peripheral nerve damage. More recent applications applied in the nasal cavity suggest this agent can be used as a biomarker to detect early signs of anosmia which may have applications in certain neurodegenerative diseases.
STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT
PCT application PCT/US2020/014212 was filed in January 2020 and US National application 17/423,341 was filed in July 2021.
Thomas Reiner, PhD, Former Laboratory Head, Memorial Hospital Research Laboratories, Memorial Sloan Kettering
Gonzales et al., (2020) Fluorescence labeling of a NaV1.7-targeted peptide for near-infrared nerve visualization. EJNMMI Research (PubMed Link).
Gonzales et al., (2021) Bimodal imaging of mouse peripheral nerves with chlorin tracers. Molecular Pharmaceutics (PubMed Link).
James Delorme, PhD