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Funded Studies

Tracing Hallmarks of Parkinson's Disease in the Brain with a New Compound

Study Rationale:
Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by the presence of protein alpha-synuclein clumps in the brain. PD shares common features with other neurodegenerative diseases and because an objective measures of disease (biomarkers) is lacking for PD, it is difficult to diagnose, track progression and a patients' response to treatment. Tools that can do both are much needed because early diagnosis and treatment are particularly important. Positron emission tomography (PET) has been as a valuable tool for a early detection of protein clumps in Alzheimer's disease. However, a similar method for an early detection of PD is still lacking.

This project aims to test a novel tool for an early diagnosis of PD. This tool is designed to reveal signs of Parkinson's disease in the brain, such as alpha-synuclein clumps, using PET imaging.

Study Design:
This study aims to test a novel chemical compound that sticks to alpha-synuclein in the brain and makes it visible under a PET scanner. Such compounds are known as tracers for their ability to trace signs of disease in the brain. This compound was designed to resemble another chemical with a proven ability to treat Parkinson's in pre-clinical models. It is the most promising of several similar compounds we have developed so far and has been selected for further testing based on encouraging results of our previous studies.

Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson's disease:
The compound we are developing could help distinguish PD from other similar diseases as well as track disease progression and response to treatment in pre-clinical and clinical trials.

Next Steps for Development:
Based on very encouraging data, this study will provide the information needed to test this unique tracer in clinical settings and if successful, the tracer could be integrated into an array of studies in Parkinson's research and the clinical community.


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