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Image analysis software for Alzheimer’s vaccine


Affiris GmbH announced today that it will integrate the Definiens Enterprise Image Intelligence Suite in the company’s Alzheimer’s disease vaccination programme.

The decision was based on the company’s outstanding experience with Definiens software.

Affiris’ business strategy focuses on rapid identification of drug candidates and accelerated preclinical and clinical development. Matching Affiris requirements comprehensively, Definiens provides automated image analysis solutions with reliable, fast and consistent results.

In order to launch its new AFFITOPETM vaccines, which facilitate the induction of a desired antibody immune response, Affiris wants to streamline its processes and control timelines more aggressively.

One bottleneck common in preclinical stages is the detailed analysis of a large amount of high content images. In the project the challenge was automating high content image analysis of histological slides of mouse brains.

Crucial factors were the batch processing and job scheduling capabilities of the Definiens software which enable efficient processing of files larger than 1 GB.

Definiens’ automated image analysis will not only help Affiris to reduce costs and save its scientific personnel time, but the results will also be more objective compared to a manual approach.

In November 2007 Affiris attracted public attention, when it was granted a European-wide patent for key elements of its Alzheimer’s disease vaccination strategy.

The hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease are deposits of aggregated beta-amyloid peptide in the brain. Beta- amyloid is removed from larger precursor protein by the body’s own enzymes, in healthy as well as afflicted persons.

It is generally believed however, that in Alzheimer’s disease the regulation of this removal is disturbed, leading to higher amounts and/or more aggregation-prone species of beta-amyloid. AFFITOPETM vaccines, invented and produced by Affiris, are modified beta-amyloid-like peptides which elicit an immune response against the aggregation-prone beta-amyloid, but not against the physiological precursor protein. One such vaccine is currently undergoing clinical tests, while others are still in the preclinical stage.

Dr Markus Mandler, Head of Neurodegeneration Department at Affiris, said “The Definiens Enterprise Image Intelligence Suite is an open platform that can be easily integrated with the existing hardware as well as image acquisition devices and software.

“It enables even untrained users to calibrate and execute versatile image analysis workflows. Thanks to the user-friendliness of the platform and the excellent support provided by Definiens, the implementation process will be very short and the technology is expected to become part of our work routine as early as February 2008.”



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