Edinburgh Molecular Imaging Ltd. (EM Imaging) has signed an exclusive global license with GE Healthcare Ltd. and Dyax Inc. for development of a novel fluorescence imaging agent that could improve the detection of early stage colorectal cancer. In a scientific study published by Nature Medicine (doi: 10.1038/nm.3641), the EMI-137 imaging agent allowed doctors to see more early stage colorectal cancer and precancerous tumors that could be removed via colonoscopy. Colonoscope screenings, the most common method, can miss up to 25 percent of precancerous growths, especially small, flat lesions. "Of the 47 precancerous polyps detected in this study, 12 were missed using a standard colonoscope," said lead investigator Dr. James Hardwick of Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands. "This underlines how unreliable this method can be, and we therefore welcome life-saving new technology like EMI-137. This agent has the potential to make polyps light up like light bulbs, allowing clinicians to detect and remove more polyps, prevent more cancers, and save more lives." Fluorescence colonoscopy in patients receiving intravenous EMI-137 enabled the visualization of all neoplastic polyps that were visible with light, as well as previously missed polyps that were not visible with white light alone. The agent is water soluble and consists of an amino acid cyclic peptide, conjugated to a fluorescent cyanine dye. It binds to the human tyrosine kinase hepatocyte growth factor receptor, which is frequently overexpressed during cancer growth. EMI-137 has the potential to image a range of cancers including breast, esophageal, ovarian, thyroid, bile duct and lung, EM Imaging said. "This new agent has the potential to save thousands of lives through early detection," said CEO Ian Wilson. "It gives providers the potential to effectively stratify patients, direct therapy choice and improve patient outcomes while lowering the costs to the health care system. The team is extremely motivated to complete this product's development and get it into the hands of clinicians in order to benefit patients." The company plans to begin studies on EM-137 by the end of the year. For more information, visit www.edinimage.com .