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The Michael J. Fox Foundation Leads Charge to Develop Alpha-Synuclein PET Tracer to Image Parkinson's Disease Biomarker
Date:11/7/2013

NEW YORK, Nov. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The pursuit of an imaging tool to visualize the protein alpha-synuclein, the hallmark pathology of Parkinson's disease (PD), in the brain is the subject of a paper published today in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease by three researchers from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF). The Foundation has assembled and leads a consortium to develop a radioactive PET tracer that could lead to better therapies and quality of life for Parkinson's patients.

"The time frame for developing a PET tracer can be a long one, on the order of several years, and requires some luck along the way. MJFF seeks to accelerate this process through a concerted effort to combine resources and expertise from several different groups," wrote the paper's authors.

Also today MJFF is hosting a workshop of industry and academic leaders investigating alpha-synuclein and other protein tracers to encourage support and collaboration around this goal.

"The ability to measure biomarkers of Parkinson's disease—including alpha-synuclein in the brain—would radically transform treatments for PD patients by allowing researchers to confirm diagnosis, stratify volunteers for clinical trials and measure drug efficacy faster," said Jamie Eberling, Ph.D., senior associate director of MJFF research programs and first author of the paper. "Availability of an alpha-synuclein tracer would be a huge leap forward for drug development."

Parkinson's disease is marked by clumps of alpha-synuclein, called Lewy bodies, in brain and body cells, which can currently only be measured at autopsy or inferred from protein levels in blood or cerebrospinal fluid. Scientists are hoping to develop a drug with a radioactive tag that can be read by positron emission tomography (PET) sca
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SOURCE The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
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