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SBIR Grant Awarded to Rutgers Spin-Off for Biopsy Imaging

Mammogram (Cancer.gov)

(Cancer.gov)

National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a spin-off company from Rutgers University in New Jersey a small-business grant to develop a quick and economical analysis of tissue from breast cancer biopsies. The grant of $207,000 to Ibris Inc. of Piscataway, New Jersey, was made through through NIH’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

Ibris Inc. was formed last year by Anant Madabhushi, professor of biomedical engineering at Rutgers, and James Monaco, an assistant research professor in Madabhushi’s lab. The company is negotiating a license for computerized image recognition technology developed by Madabhushi.

Madabhushi’s technology examines a high-resolution digital scan of breast biopsy specimens, using automated image analysis tools to reveal difficult-to-discern characteristics that indicate the disease’s grades of severity. It builds on earlier research to detect and grade prostate cancer by analyzing magnetic resonance images of the gland.

Determining the severity of breast cancer can help determine the type of treatment — hormonal therapy for less aggressive cancer and chemotherapy for more aggressive types. Current diagnostic procedures either involve visual examination by a pathologist, which introduces human variability, or an expensive (upwards of $4,000) genetic test.

The Ibris technology promises to deliver biopsy analyses faster, more reliably, and less expensively than visual examination or the genetic test. The SBIR grant, made through NIH’s National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, will determine the ability of Ibris scores to predict long-term patient outcomes.

“By determining how aggressive the tumor is, we can help those with less aggressive cancer avoid chemotherapy with its side-effects and expense,” says Madabhushi, “and at the same time, we can help those with more aggressive cancer get immediate access to the treatment they need to fight the disease.”

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