Polarean Imaging, a medical imaging technology company enrolled their first patient in its Phase III FDA clinical trial.  Polarean designs and manufactures equipment for production of hyperpolarized xenon or helium gas. They have developed a system that can better spot the early signs of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

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The goal of the clinical trial is to perform a non-inferiority study of its drug-device combination using hyperpolarised 129-Xenon (129Xe) gas MRI, against 133-Xenon (133Xe) scintigraphy. The theory is that this method is more accurate and less harmful than current methods. They will be evaluating a total of 80 patients with lung lobe resection and lung transplant procedures. The Phase III trial will be conducted at Duke University and the University of Virginia.

When used in conjunction with MRI, these gases offer a fundamentally new and non-invasive functional imaging platform. Additionally, xenon gas exhibits solubility and signal properties that enable it to be imaged within other tissues and organs.

Polarean, spun out of Dr. Bastiann Driehuys and Gary Cofer’s technology from the School of Medicine, launched their start-up in 2014.