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Funded Studies

Development of PET Tracers for Synucleinopathies

This grant builds upon the research from a prior grant: Development of Novel, Small Molecule Compounds as PET Tracers for Synucleinopathies

Promising Outcomes of Original Grant:
Our project aims to develop a brain imaging agent for alpha-synuclein, a key protein involved in Parkinson’s disease (PD) pathology. Such an agent will help (i) diagnose PD earlier, (ii) track pathology over time and (iii) monitor the efficacy of therapeutics reducing alpha-synuclein aggregates. The AC Immune team identified promising compounds they are refining to target such an agent. The final deliverable is a compound with suitable characteristics for use as an alpha-synuclein PET (Positron Emission Tomography) imaging agent for use in human diagnosis, clinical trials and, eventually, routine treatment of PD.  

Objectives for Supplemental Investigation:
The aim is to develop novel compounds as human PET tracers for alpha-synuclein, satisfying key criteria of high affinity for alpha-synuclein aggregates, high selectivity for alpha-synuclein over other aggregated human proteins (tau, amyloid-beta), binding to early forms of aggregated proteins, and high brain penetration and rapid clearance from brain. 

Importance of This Research for the Development of a New PD Therapy:
Identification of an alpha-synuclein PET tracer would improve the accuracy and early diagnosis of PD, Lewy body disorders and other synucleopathies, as well as play a major biomarker role in clinical trials of disease progression.


  • Francesca Capotosti, PhD

    Lausanne Switzerland

  • David A. Lowe, PhD

    Lausanne Switzerland

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