Hadassah Medical Organization’s Heart Imaging Tracer Advances to First-in-Human Trials with $4M EU Grant

Thursday, February 18, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

European Union Grant Reaffirms Hadassah's Worldwide Leadership in Heart Research in February during American Heart Month

January 18, 2016 NEW YORK — Jerusalem-based Hadassah Medical Organization's (HMO) innovative radioactive heart imaging tracer project, which enables cardiologists to noninvasively and quantitatively view specific changes of blood flow to the heart, has received a €3.69M ($4M US) grant from the European Union's (EU) Horizon 2020 Program. The grant will enable first-in-human clinical trials (Phase 1) to commence immediately in Jerusalem, announced Ellen Hershkin, National President of Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (HWZOA).

The innovative radioactive heart imaging tracer, invented and developed by Dr. Eyal Mishani, MD, PhD and HMO's Cyclotron and Radiochemistry Unit team, together with HMO cardiologist Dr. Chaim Dannenberg, MD, PhD, was exclusively licensed in 2013 by Hadasit, HMO's technology transfer company, to the grant applicant Synektik S.A., a leading provider of innovative solutions for Medical Imaging in Europe.

The three year grant for this PET/CT cardiac imaging tracer awarded by EU's Horizon 2020 program is one of only three funded projects from 110 applicants in the health field. Currently, HMO is the only hospital in the world with this imaging agent. The announcement coincides with February Heart Health Month in America and re-affirms HMO's worldwide leadership position in heart research.

This invention heralds a new stage in the diagnosis of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the world. Currently, millions of diagnostic heart catheterizations are performed each year in the United States; less than 50% reveal heart problems that require further intervention. Thus, the new tracer may decrease unnecessary invasive procedures and costs.

First-in-human trials (Phase 1) will begin at HMO in 2016, the first of its kind in Israel with a PET imaging tracer. HMO has already received the approval of both its Helsinki Ethics Committee and Israel's Ministry of Health to launch the trials.

Hadassah National President Ellen Hershkin states, "One of Hadassah's major focuses is to eradicate heart disease in our lifetime and this is another significant step in HMO's journey to do so."

Prof. Mishani explains: "When this imaging agent is injected into the patient, it accumulates in the heart, enabling the physician to measure blood flow in absolute values and pinpoint the location of problems. With heart disease being the most common cause of death worldwide, the grant is an important recognition by the European Commission for our work in translational medicine, our ability to move from the laboratory to the bedside."

Using quantitative imaging for blood flow to the heart, HMO's new imaging agent will help diagnose coronary artery disease to facilitate more accurate diagnoses and treatment methods. It will also enable doctors to measure the damage caused after a heart attack, and predict the degree of recovery after a heart attack or bypass surgery.

Horizon 2020 is the EU's largest research and innovation program.

For more information on Every Beat Counts, Hadassah's Heart Health Program™, visit http://www.hadassah.org/health-medicine-in-us/heart-health/.

ABOUT HADASSAH:

Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. (HWZOA), is the largest Jewish women’s organization in the United States. With nearly 300,000 members, Associates and supporters, HWZOA brings women together to effect change and advocate on such critical issues as ensuring the security of Israel, combating antisemitism and promoting women’s health. Through the Hadassah Medical Organization's (HMO) two hospitals in Jerusalem, HWZOA helps support exemplary patient care for over a million people every year and HMO’s world-renowned medical research. HMO serves without regard to race, religion or nationality and earned a Nobel Peace Prize Nomination in 2005 for building “bridges to peace.” Additionally, HWZOA supports several Youth Aliyah villages that set at-risk children in Israel on the path to a successful future. For more information, visit www.hadassah.org or follow Hadassah on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.