The visualization of alpha-synuclein (alpha-syn) 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 alpha-syn is available. An imaging agent for alpha-synuclein is an extremely useful research tool to be applied also as biomarker for clinical trials in PD. However, the development of such imaging agent is a challenging process, since many molecules share similar binding properties to other misfolded proteins such as amyloid-beta and tau.
The aim of this project is to develop a PET imaging agent for the visualization and quantification of alpha-syn deposits in patients with Parkinson´s disease.
The project will use a comprehensive strategy for the identification of candidate agents that binds with high affinity and selectivity to alpha-syn. The strategy is based on the screening of structurally diverse molecules that have the capability to bind to alpha-syn in human brain tissue from patients with Parkinson´s disease. The selectivity of the binding for alpha-synuclein will be tested in vitro on human brain tissue from patients with other degenerative disorders.
The development of an imaging agent for detection of alpha-syn will be of great utility to confirm the presence of alpha-syn deposits in patients at early stage, to help the prediction of disease progression and to evaluate the response to treatments that have alpha-syn as specific target.
Principle investigators: Andrea Varrone
Partner: AstraZeneca (Magnus Schou)