A healthy heart is needed to defeat cancer for full recovery. InvivoSciences’ diagnostic tests protect hearts of women, men and children via enabling safe and effective cancer therapies without damaging the health of their heart.
What is the critical gap in cancer treatment that you are addressing?
While research continues toward the discovery and application of effective cancer treatments, a real and adverse consequence to those life-saving treatments is damage to healthy organs, including the heart. As major cancer hospitals have become aware of these heart-related side effects, “Cardio-Oncology” programs are being established to assist patients with cardiac monitoring during their cancer treatment. The current available tests for monitoring such side effects are expensive, and therefore not financially feasible for patients who are already paying the overwhelming cost associated with their cancer treatments. Cost effective diagnostic tests are therefore needed for balancing the effectiveness of cancer treatment with the side effects of heart disease.
Cancer and cardiovascular disease are the two most common causes of death and disease worldwide. The incidence of both cancer and cardiovascular disease increase with age. With increased life expectancy, the number of cancer patients with cardiovascular disease is projected to increase substantially over the next decade. Moreover, cancer survivorship is also climbing due to increased screening, improved clinical tools and breakthrough therapies. Currently the number of cancer survivors is in the US is 15 million. Breast cancer alone has seen a dramatic shift in survival. For example, in 1980 breast cancer killed half of all patients. Today, the breast cancer survival rate is nearly 80%. Unfortunately, many cancer survivors are prone to life-threatening heart diseases. In fact among Hodgkin lymphoma patients who have received radiation, cardiovascular disease is one of the most common causes of death.
InvivoSciences (IVS) has discovered a rapid and cost-effective way to protect hearts put at risk by anti-cancer therapies while maintaining treatment effectiveness. Our approach utilizes micro human hearts models to identify compounds or pathways that may alter cardiac physiology and pathology.
What is the key product development milestone you seek to fund?
The next critical milestone is to validate our diagnostic tool using human micro heart tissues derived from patients.
How will funds be used?
Funds will be used to purchase the required lab materials and to support the scientific personnel whose expertise is critical for the accomplishment the above milestone. The breakdown of use of funds is the following: 50% of funds will be spent on personnel and technical assistants; 20% of funds will be spent on facilities and administrative cost; 30% of funds will be spent on laboratory supplies and other related supplies to secure the access to the patient samples for developing the biomarkers.
What key resources have/will you acquire to facilitate the accomplishment of the above R&D milestone?
Other sources of funding include Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Awards, other commercial activities including sale of our services, instruments and reagents to pharmaceutical companies, private investments from third parties and foundations, and licensing revenues from strategic corporate partnerships.
If your technology were to disappear in the “Valley of Death” funding gap, how might this impact society?
Our products are so close to being available as diagnostic tools for cancer patients and 15 million cancer survivors. We are committed to bringing our products to market. We have been successful with attracting highly competitive NIH SBIR grants and strategic partnerships with both academic and corporate institutions. We are in discussion with pharmaceutical companies who wish to utilize our approach for their cardiac-diagnostic programs. We are already in collaboration with the FDA to help improve and protect heart health during and after cancer therapies.
Abandoning our science and technology at this point would disrupt our development efforts and impact the millions of cancer patients who could potentially benefit from our cardiac monitoring approach.
You can help us make this dream a reality while we are so close to achieve it. Donate now! Your funds will help close the funding gap and support us in developing our technology. Each minute we are delayed, one more life will be at risk; one more heart will be unhealed.
Ayla leads the efforts of InvivoSciences, Inc. (IVS), a biotechnology company developing technologies for drug discovery, diagnostic, and precision medicine. Ayla has over twenty two years of cumulative successful business leadership experience in strategic business development for Fortune 500 companies, and in technology based start- ups. She is committed to launching InvivoSciences as a leader in innovative therapeutic solutions to life-threatening illnesses, including cardiovascular, cancer and autoimmune diseases. Ayla’s other activities includes judge for the Wisconsin Governor’s business plan competition, board member positions at Tempo at Madison in Wisconsin, Bio-Forward Association in Wisconsin. She is also a member of Alliance of Regenerative Medicine, American Heart Association, American Chemical Society, HESI, the Turkish Medical Committee, National Small Business Association Leadership Council and Bio Industry Organization under emerging companies. She has served as invited guest speaker for national and international conferences, and has authored numerous published articles in national and state wide journals and industry related publications. Finally, Ayla received the prestigious Women of Industry Award in 2015 October awarded by In Business Magazine.
Tetsuro Wakatsuki has been a Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of InvivoSciences since 2001. He received a BS in Physics from Aoyamagakuin University in Tokyo and obtained a MS in Mechanical Engineering and Ph.D. in Biophysics from Washington University St. Louis. He has been a principle investigator of various projects funded by National Institute of Health. The foundation of the micro heart tissue technology was developed during his faculty appointment at the Medical College of Wisconsin. His unique background enables effective collaboration with scientists at FDA and various academic institutions to accelerate the translation of basic scientific discoveries into safe and effective drug development. He is a member of various organizations including Cardiac Safety Research Consortium.
Elliot Elson is a Co-founder of InvivoSciences and Professor of Biochemistry and Mechanical Engineering at Washington University St. Louis. He received an A.B. in Biochemical Science from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. He pioneered the development of fluorescence correlation spectroscopy that has been used in basic science discoveries and drug screening for the pharmaceutical industries. He is also one of the frontiers in an emerging field called mechanobiology that focuses on studying how physical forces in biological system contribute to development, physiology, and disease development. InvivoSciences applies mechanobiology principles in the discovery of safe and effective disease treatments.