Endra Life Sciences said that the Nexus 128 makes in vivo quantification of tumor vasculature possible without the need for contrast agents and helps preclinical researchers gain deeper insight into areas such as how drugs treat disease and cancer progression, without ionizing radiation or complicated equipment.

The name Nexus 128 represents the convergence of light and sound in a powerful new imaging approach. It employs a detector array consisting of 128 individual acoustic receiver elements arranged in a patented geometry. The system generates multispectral, quantitative, three dimensional images of tumor vasculature and hemoglobin concentration in under 2 minutes, and completes volumetric anatomical scans in as little as 12 seconds, said the company.

Michael Thornton, president and chief operating officer of Endra said: “Photoacoustic imaging combines ultrasound with the rich contrast of optical imaging, based on the same principles that give cells, organs, and tissues their unique colors. It provides high spatial resolution at depth far exceeding that of conventional optical imaging techniques such as fluorescence and bioluminescence. We are excited to make this technology widely available to cancer biology researchers for the first time.”

Rakesh Jain, director of Edwin Steele Laboratory of tumor biology at Harvard Medical School and advisor of Enlight Biosciences, said: “Mouse models of cancer are used extensively to study tumor development and the effects of new therapies, but until now the tools to measure this effect have had depth limitations. The ability to track abnormal vessel growth and normalization in vivo with high resolution throughout a tumor mass during therapeutic intervention is a powerful new capability that will be widely used in cancer research.”

Keith Stantz, faculty member of Purdue University, said: “For the past several years, our research group has developed quantitative photoacoustic spectroscopy imaging techniques and applied them to mouse models of cancer. We have been using Endra’s photoacoustic tomography prototype system regularly for the past year. The simplified animal handling and high throughput allow us to image entire study groups within a couple of hours.”