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Development of a Radioligand for Imaging of Alpha-synuclein with Positron Emission Tomography

Study Rationale:                   
The visualization of alpha-synuclein deposition in the living human brain is of high need as a biomarker for Parkinson´s disease (PD). Positron emission tomography (PET) is an imaging technique that provides such opportunity, provided that a suitable PET agent for imaging alpha-synuclein is available. This tool eludes researchers because it has been challenging to develop an optimal agent to image alpha-synuclein.

The aim of this project is to develop a PET imaging agent for the visualization and quantification of alpha-synuclein deposits in people with Parkinson´s disease.

Study Design:
We will use a comprehensive strategy for the identification of candidate agents that binds to alpha-synuclein. The strategy is based on the screening of structurally diverse molecules that have the capability to bind to alpha-synuclein in human brain tissue from people with Parkinson´s disease.

Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease:             
The development of an imaging agent for detection of alpha-synuclein will be of great utility (i) to confirm the presence of alpha-synuclein protein deposits in patients at early stage, (ii) to help the prediction of disease progression, and (iii) to evaluate the response to treatments targeting directly alpha-synuclein.

Next Steps for Development:
If a suitable PET imaging agent for alpha-synuclein is developed, the next steps would be to develop a PET tracer radiolabeled that can be used in a clinical setting and distributed also to different imaging sites to facilitate the conduction of clinical trials in PD.


  • Andrea Varrone, MD, PhD

    Stockholm Sweden

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