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Akeso Medical Imaging starts clinical study for proof of concept of imaging device for rheumatoid arthritis disease activity monitoring and control.

Eindhoven, the Netherlands, March 1, 2012 – Akeso Medical Imaging BV, announces today the start of a clinical study with their novel imaging device for assessment of joint inflammation in patient with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In this proof of concept study, Akeso’s imaging device will be compared to other methods to assess disease status, such as the DAS-28 score, Ultrasound and in some cases MRI. The study will be performed at the University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC Utrecht) in cooperation with Regional Rheumatology Centre Eindhoven (RRC). Seventy subjects will be included; sixty RA patients with varying degrees of inflammation of the joints of hands and wrists at the time of examination and a control group of ten subjects.

Akeso Medical Imaging (“Akeso”) is the first company in the world to develop a non invasive optical imaging device that supports the rheumatologist in objective assessment of inflammatory status in RA. Inflammatory status is a key parameter for rheumatologists in treatment decisions for patients with RA. Reducing the inflammation to a state of remission will improve quality of life of RA patients and reduce long term disability. The device works by measuring the blood flow in 22 joints of the hands and wrists using diffuse optical transmission in combination with a patented blood flow modulation method. Based on optical technology the device poses no risk for the patient and is fast, operator independent, inexpensive and easy to use.

Dr. Wouter Rensen, Akeso’s VP Clinical Application, comments on the study: “While we have performed clinical tests with a prototype that measures one joint at a time, this is the first time that we put our new device to the test that can scan all joints in two hands and wrists in only 90 seconds. We are very excited to work with two outstanding medical centers to further develop and validate our device.”

Prof. Dr. Hans Bijlsma, Head of the Department Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology at UMC Utrecht and principal investigator: “We look forward to help evaluate Akeso’s novel technology. This type of device has the potential to reduce the impact of RA on the patient’s life through fewer and shorter inflammatory episodes, by enabling more frequent monitoring of the disease and fine-tuning of medication. Applying the principle of tight control of RA disease activity will decrease long term functional loss. Such a device can make tight control feasible, also in busy practices.”

Dr. Toon Westgeest, rheumatologist at the Regional Rheumatology Centre in Eindhoven states: “I am excited about Akeso’s technology and look forward to collaborate in the clinical study. A quick and objective way to assess the inflammatory status of a patient could change processes in the rheumatology practice, allowing us to better track how our patients are doing and giving us more time to focus on the patients with active or more complicated disease.”


About Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) - RA is a chronic inflammatory disease, affecting between 0.5% and 1% of the population worldwide. RA is a progressive disease with currently no cure, making the disease a chronic condition. RA is associated with regular flare ups and if left untreated these will cause irreversible joint damage and ultimately severe joint deformation and loss of function. The treatment of RA is staged. Initially the patient receives classical disease modifying anti-inflammatory drugs. If this treatment becomes ineffective, different and more advanced drugs (e.g. biologics, such as anti-TNF antibodies) are deployed. Treatment is to be guided by monitoring of disease activity, and if done adequately, irreversible joint damage can be prevented and discomfort due to the disease and drug side effects can be limited. As such monitoring of disease activity will help to reduce the overall treatment costs which is important given the chronic nature of RA.

About Akeso Medical Imaging - Akeso Medical Imaging B.V. is a medical device company active in the field of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Akeso’s ambition is to improve the quality of life of patients with RA by creating imaging devices that support the rheumatologist in monitoring and treatment of this disease. Akeso’s systems are based on patented optical inflammation detection technology, a non-invasive, fast and operator independent method that supports rheumatologists in objective assessment of inflammatory status, a key parameter in the treatment of patients with RA. Akeso Medical Imaging was founded as a spin-off of Royal Philips Electronics where the inflammation detection technology was invented. For more information, please visit www.akeso-medical.com.

About University Medical Center Utrecht - The University Medical Center of Utrecht (UMC Utrecht) is one of the largest public healthcare institutions in the Netherlands. With almost 11.000 employees, UMC Utrecht is constantly building on the provision of good healthcare services, based on the right people and knowledge. UMC Utrecht is a leading international academic medical center where knowledge of health, illness and care is generated, evaluated, shared and applied for the benefit of patients and society. UMC Utrecht is one of the participating centers in the NFU which is the Dutch organization for University Medical Centers. The NFU is the result of a merger of the Netherland’s university hospitals and medical centers.

About Regional Rheumatology Centre Eindhoven - Regional Rheumatic Centre (RRC) is thé regional centre of expertise and excellence for patients with rheumatic diseases. Twenty-one medical professionals are committed to treat patients from all over the region. Our team includes four rheumatologists, all state of the art medical professionals. Except treating patients, those medical professionals also have their own scientific areas of expertice. Participating in medical trials and publishing scientific papers in national and international medical and scientific leading journals is on the top of their list. Regional Rheumatic Centre is based at Máxima Medical Centre, location Eindhoven. For more information, please visit http://reumacentrum.mmc.nl.


Contacts:

Akeso Medical Imaging B.V.
Petra van den Elsen, MD, PhD, MBA, CEO
T: 31 (0)40 30 20 019
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
W: www.akeso-medical.com

University Medical Center Utrecht
The Department of Internal and External Communication
T: 31 (0)88 755 7483
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Máxima Medisch Centrum
Monique de Jong
Department of Communication
T : 31 (0)40 888 9140
W : www.mmc.nl