Imaging PRIORITY AREA
Why Is Imaging a Priority?
Imaging is a powerful tool that can be used to visualize the structure and function of the brain in living subjects. While a variety of imaging techniques are available, including PET, SPECT and MRI, none of them have been demonstrated to be a reliable method to report the presence and progression of PD. The capability to image a Parkinson's biomarker would be extremely useful both for drug development studies and as an outcome measure in clinical trials.
Our Investment in Imaging
The Michael J. Fox Foundation has supported several projects focused on developing an imaging technique for visualizing alpha-synuclein in the brain, and in 2011 we established a consortium to develop a PET imaging tracer. Thus far the consortium has identified several lead molecules that bind to alpha-synculein and plan to radiolabel and test them in vivo in 2014. In November 2013 the Foundation held an Alpha-Synuclein Imaging Summit to discuss progress and challenges in the field, and MJFF hopes to continue this as an annual event with both tracer researchers and drug developers.
In addition to alpha-synuclein, the Foundation is investing in efforts to develop an imaging method for visualizing the LRRK2 kinase. A mutation in the gene that encodes LRRK2 is a risk factor for PD, making the LRRK2 kinase a potential target for drug development.
If you are interested in developing a tracer and have ideas about novel targets, please contact Jamie Eberling at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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