Navigation Links
The Michael J. Fox Foundation Leads Charge to Develop Alpha-Synuclein PET Tracer to Image Parkinson's Disease Biomarker

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) scans and that can bind to alpha-synuclein. With this tool, they could visualize the distribution of alpha-synuclein in the brain. Such tracking of these aggregates would help diagnose and track disease progression and monitor therapies targeted at reducing alpha-synuclein levels. As drugs targeting Lewy bodies move through development, researchers could test whether they change levels of alpha-synuclein rather than rely on a change in clinical symptoms, as they do now.

Development of a tracer of the protein beta-amyloid transformed Alzheimer's disease research, leading to insights on how that pathology leads to cognitive decline. PD researchers hope the ability to image alpha-synuclein could allow similar breakthroughs in not only Parkinson's disease, but also related parkinsonisms such as Lewy body dementia, multiple system atrophy and progressive supranuclear palsy.

In 2011 MJFF assembled a consortium with a contract research organization and two academic groups to collaborate on the pursuit of an alpha-synuclein tracer. To identify molecules that bind selectively and with high affinity for the protein, researchers screened 100,000 compounds selected through computational chemistry based on the alpha-synuclein structure. They have identified several promising compounds and continue to optimize them and radiolabel the most promising for further development.

"It is unfortunately a process of trial-and-error. While we're closing in on the compounds with the greatest likelihood of success, there are still hurdles to cross in the next phase of development," said Chester Mathis, Ph.D., director of the PET Facility at the University of Pittsburgh and a member of the MJFF Alpha-Synuclein Imaging Consortium.

The challenges this Parkinson's tracer faces are plenty. Alpha-synuclein is not very abundant in the brain, so the binding compound must be highly selective. Also, it accumulates intracellularly, so in addition to passing the blood-brain barrier, the selected molecule must also make it through the cell membrane. However, advancement to clinical testing of tracers for tau (another protein implicated in Alzheimer's that faces some of these same challenges) provides hope to researchers seeking an alpha-synuclein tracer.

At the workshop today, attendees share best practices and recommendations for next steps as the pursuit continues.

About The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research

As the world's largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson's research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson's disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson's patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers.  In addition to funding $375 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson's research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson's disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson's awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world.

For more information, visit us on Facebook, Twitter, Web and LinkedIn.

SOURCE The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
Copyright©2012 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine technology :

1. Dr. Michael Feiz on What Makes a Great Bariatric Physician
2. Michael Walton Retires From The Female Health Company Board of Directors
3. Health Decisions CEO Michael Rosenberg, MD, MPH, Offers Insights into Adaptive and Risk-Based Monitoring in the Journal of Clinical Research Best Practices
4. Red Carpet Star Studded Celebrity Gala in Partnership with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research
5. Michael A. Jacobsen Joining Omeros as Vice President, Finance and Chief Accounting Officer
6. Promising Parkinsons Disease Research Highlighted by The Michael J. Fox Foundation to Accelerate Drug Development
7. NeuroDerm Awarded $1M by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for the Clinical Development of ND0612 for Parkinsons Disease
8. Manhattan NYC Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Michael Wei Providing Invisalign Braces
9. American Skin Association Announces New Member Of The Board J. Michael Pearson And New Education Council Member Ryan Weldon Of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc.
10. Array BioPharma Names Michael N. Needle, M.D. As Chief Medical Officer
11. Chimerix Appoints Michael D. Rogers, Ph.D., as Chief Development Officer
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... Connecticut , November 30, 2015 ... Kentucky Breast Care has entered into a multi-year ... healthcare practice. This will allow Kentucky Breast Care to ... offer exceptional care for their patients. --> ... Kentucky Breast Care has entered into a multi-year ...
(Date:11/29/2015)... , Nov. 29, 2015   Royal Philips  (NYSE: ... radiology solutions at the 2015 Radiological Society of North ... at McCormick Place in Chicago . ... experience the company,s broad portfolio of integrated Diagnostic Imaging, ... to increase clinical performance, improve workflow and create a ...
(Date:11/29/2015)...  The GE Health Cloud 1 was unveiled today ... North America (RSNA) meeting in ... new cloud ecosystem and its applications will connect radiologists and ... multidisciplinary teams – both inside and outside the hospital setting. ... GE. "As the digital industrial leader, we are betting big ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Holcomb – Kreithen ... plastic surgery practices in Florida, is proud to announce that Dr. Joshua Kreithen, ... giant Ethicon Inc., a Johnson & Johnson Company. , Ethicon is a global ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... EMIGSVILLE, PA (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 ... ... (CCMS) software provider, has verified that their Vasont Universal Integrator (VUI) extension unites ... handle creating, editing, and managing content as a continuous process with the latest ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Maryland (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... interactions could be of critical importance to the medical schools of the future. ... exhibited its healthcare suite at the 2015 ChangeMedEd conference in Chicago, organized by ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 30, 2015 , ... Innovaacom, a leading provider of medical ... survey of educational needs for pharmacists worldwide. The poll of pharmacists in Europe, ... quality online and face-to-face education for pharmacists who are fast becoming the new ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... In 2016, expected coding changes are likely to include new codes for spine ... not easy to understand the effects of code changes in musculoskeletal, radiology and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):