SensoPath Technologies, Inc., Bozeman, MT has been awarded a $1.5 M

JASON BACAJ, Business Journal Editor

Posted: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 12:15 am | 0 comments

Local biotechnology company SensoPath Technologies has received a $1.5 million contract from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

The contract will go toward the company’s Phase II research into its treatment for recurring head and neck cancers.

“We’re very pleased with (the contract),” said SensoPath CEO Brenda Spangler, who is married to Charles.

The Phase II research is a collaboration between SensoPath, the University of Florida’s biomedical engineering department and veterinary school, and Princess Margaret Cancer Center at the University of Toronto. SensoPath is located at MSU’s Innovation Campus.

Research will be based in Bozeman, where SensoPath will create the drug and direct research at UF, Brenda Spangler said. The contract will fund two years of research, with the second year including clinical trials on dogs and cats at UF’s veterinary school.

About $500,000 of the contract will go into buying a research laser for UF’s biomedical engineering department and a clinical laser for the university’s veterinary school.

The treatment starts with the hemoglobin molecules in the blood. It attaches a dye and amino acid to the central portion of the hemoglobin, called porphyrin, Spangler said. Later, the porphyrin binds with the tumor and is incorporated into the rapidly expanding mass of cells.

A laser is used to activate the dye, so researchers can see the tumor’s size, shape and outline. Then the laser’s frequency is increased, and the porphyrin inside the tumor triggers apoptosis, a chemical reaction that kills the tumor cells.

Spangler said the procedure has been tested in mice and rabbits and can be completed in a day.

“This is a natural phenomenon of the cell,” she said. “So it’s really kind of cool.”

Jason Bacaj may be reached at jasonb@dailychronicle.com or 582-2635.