27 April 2011

Eurostars award for imaging research

Immunocore, together with the French pre-clinical imaging company Animascope, has been awarded a European Union Eurostars project award.

The ANIDIAG project aims to test the feasibility of a novel approach to in vivo medical imaging. Novel medical imaging agents, more sensitive than current market standards, will be created by combining Immunocore’s T cell receptor technology with Animascope’s expertise in pre-clinical imaging. If successful, such agents will be developed into products and services for the global drug discovery and diagnostics industries, particularly in oncology and Type I diabetes.

Soluble T cell Receptors (TCRs) are an entirely novel class of targeting agent for cancer and diabetes since they target antigens not accessible to monoclonal antibodies. T cell Receptors (TCRs) recognise disease-associated peptide epitopes presented on the cell surface by Class I HLA molecules. Immunocore Ltd has unique, proprietary technology to engineer soluble T cell Receptors with greatly enhanced affinity for target antigens, which it is using to develop anti-cancer and anti-diabetic therapeutic agents. SPECT imaging technology is the most sensitive method of imaging diseased tissue in animals and humans. Animascope has leading expertise in this recently developed approach. The Project aims to develop SPECT imaging agents based on radiolabelled TCRs. These would be far more sensitive than other imaging agents on the market or in development and would be applicable to a range of previously inaccessible disease targets.