July 22, 2008
Luna Awarded NIH Grant to Apply Nanotechnology to Allergy Treatment
Luna Innovations Incorporated (NASDAQ:LUNA) announces the award of a $1.6 million Research Project Grant (R01) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to investigate the use of fullerene-based nanomedicines as a pathway to treat allergies and other inflammatory diseases. This novel research program may offer a new therapeutic solution using fullerene compounds for treating allergies and other conditions that play a central role in inflammatory reactions, such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis. The study will include evaluating Luna's exclusive nanomedicine prototypes.
Allergic conditions and other autoimmune diseases affect millions of people worldwide. These diseases are induced in tissues that contain mast cells (cells that line the surfaces of the skin, mouth, nose, eyes, sinuses, and lungs) and basophils (cells that are in the blood stream). Both cells contain histamine, the main cause of inflammatory allergic diseases.
Fullerenes are a novel class of carbon molecules that have unusual biological properties due to their unique structure. Luna's team of scientists in Danville, Virginia are synthesizing a variety of fullerenes to develop new or improved technologies to diagnose, monitor, and treat certain medical conditions.
"Our fullerenes are spherical carbon nanomaterials that have been modified to target sites within cells that amplify the immune response," explained Dr. Chris Kepley, Principal Investigator of the RO1 and nanoImmunology Group Leader at Luna. "We have discovered that our fullerene prototypes block the noxious effects of allergies and therefore may be a new way to control allergies and other diseases that are largely due to mast cell and basophil responses. Because these nanomedicine prototypes appear to work through a unique pathway, it is possible they could combine with existing medicines and produce a synergy, which makes a significant impact on these diseases."
In this program under the NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Luna will explore whether fullerenes control allergies by investigating the systemic, cellular and molecular responses in vivo and in vitro. An interdisciplinary research team, led by Dr. Kepley, has been assembled to accomplish these studies. This team combines expertise in the chemical, physical and biological sciences and state-of-the-art methodologies and models.
About Luna Innovations:
Luna Innovations Incorporated (www.lunainnovations.com) develops and manufactures new-generation products for the healthcare, telecommunications, energy and defense markets. Luna's products are used to measure, monitor, protect and improve critical processes in the markets we serve. Luna nanoWorks (www.lunananoworks.com) is a division of Luna Innovations. With a world-class nanomaterial manufacturing facility in Danville, Virginia, the nanoWorks Division is developing products empowered by nanomaterials with applications in diagnostics and therapeutics. Through its disciplined commercialization business model, Luna has become a recognized leader in transitioning science to solutions. The Company is headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia.
Forward Looking Statements:
This release includes information that constitutes "forward-looking statements" made pursuant to the safe harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding, but not limited to: Luna's fullerene-based nanomedicine prototypes' ability to offer new therapeutic solutions for treating allergies and other medical conditions, and Luna's ability to develop new and/or improved technologies to diagnose, monitor or treat medical conditions.
The company attempts, whenever possible, to identify forward-looking statements by words such as "intends,""will,""plans,""anticipates,""expects,""may,""estimates,""believes,""should,""projects," or "continue," or the negative of those words or comparable words.
Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: the safety of nanomedicine prototypes, whether real or perceived, the potential limitations of regulatory requirements in obtaining clearance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or other regulatory agencies for the company's products and the timeline for bringing any new drugs based on nanomaterials to market. Statements that describe the Company's business strategy, goals, prospects, opportunities, outlook, plans or intentions are also forward looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including risks and uncertainties set forth in the company's periodic reports and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Such filings are available at the SEC's website at http://www.sec.gov, and at the company's website at http://www.lunainnovations.com. The statements made in this release are based on information available to the company as of the date of this release and Luna Innovations undertakes no obligation to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this release.