DRVision wins $3.4M NIH grant to develop a patient-specific cell generation system for personalized medicine

It collaborates with Harvard’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology and Nikon Corporation to develop tools and protocols for the image-guided reprogramming and differentiation of patient cells

BELLEVUE, WA – March 14, 2011 –DRVision Technologies LLC, pioneer in teachable image recognition applications, has received an up to $3.4 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to develop advanced kinetic image pattern recognition (KIPR) tools.

The fast-track small business innovative research (SBIR) grant will use DRVision’s KIPR tools to predict induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) colonies’ differentiation outcomes for significantly improved yield and robustness of differentiation protocols for patients.

IPSC technology is progressing at a remarkable pace and poised to revolutionize biotechnology, medicine, and health care. Patient-specific cell generation systems could “personalize” medicine by reprogramming patient cells and directing their differentiation to specific lineages (e.g. heart, brain) for disease diagnosis and personalized drug testing. However, the yields of the state-of-the art reprogramming and differentiation protocols are low, reliability is unproven, and costs are high.

DRVision Technologies’ project will develop new tools for:

  1. colony differentiation outcome prediction by machine learning; 
  2. optimal colony harvest time determination through continuous, quantitative monitoring; 
  3. selection of colonies on the basis of their predicted differentiation outcome; and 
  4. quality control by continuous monitoring during differentiation.

The ultimate goal is to develop and validate an image-guided, efficient patient-specific cell generation system. This will be achieved by integrating DRVision’s SVCellTM software containing advanced KIPR technologies with live cell imaging incubators to synthesize state-of-the art cell fate control protocols against iPSCs.

Successful development of patient-specific cell generation systems could catalyze personalized medicine and revolutionize health care in both diagnosis and therapy.

The project involves close collaboration between DRVision, Dr. Lee Rubin, Director of Translational Medicine, Dr. Kelvin Lam, Director of High Throughput Screening, and Dr. Chad Cowan, Director of the iPS Cell Core Facility at Harvard’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology and Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and Nikon Corporation.

“We are extremely excited about the close collaboration with the Harvard researchers on this pioneering project to improve health care. At the same time we intend to become a leader in personalized medicine with our commercial partners.” said Dr. James Lee, President and CEO of DRVision and principal investigator for the new project. “This project will also strengthen our existing consortium for the development of world-leading, next generation live cell assay technology. The consortium includes Nikon imaging centers at Harvard and Hokkaido Universities, and is funded by a $1.4M NIH SBIR grant. In addition, this project extends our synergistic business collaboration with Nikon Corporation, who acts as a commercial partner.”

About DRVision Technologies LLC

DRVision develops and markets the teachable microscopy image analysis software SVCell, a revolutionary solution platform for broad, high content and live cell image analysis. Powered by recipes, it can address an unprecedented range of applications. Its Soft Learning™ technologies and teach-by-example interfaces make it possible for non-experts to quickly create scalable and novel image analytics.

DRVision is a technological innovator with 41 issued US patents in high-speed image processing, pattern recognition, machine vision, automatic learning, spatial reasoning and data mining. Since 1999, DRVision has been pioneering the use of learning technology in a broad range of practical image recognition applications. SVCell development is partially funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under multiple Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) programs worth over $6M. For more information, visit www.drvtechnologies.com