Novel nuclear medicine probe will help assess new drugs for neurodegenerative diseases

June 25, 2018, Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Novel nuclear medicine probe will help assess new drugs for neurodegenerative diseases
The chemical structures and brain PET images of the novel 18F-labeled SV2A PET tracers, 18F-SDM-7, 18F-SDM-8, and the lead tracer 11C-UCB-J in nonhuman primates. Credit: Z Cai and S Li et al., Yale University, New Haven, Conn.

New nuclear medicine tracers could help medical researchers find a cure for Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases. The research was presented today at the SNMMI 2018 Annual Meeting, June 23-26 in Philadelphia.

The development of therapies for has been hampered by the lack of a reliable and sensitive method to detect disease early and to effectively monitor the performance of experimental drugs. Synapse loss is one of the earliest and most robust biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease, and quantification of synaptic density in the central nervous system could be used to detect a variety of neurodegenerative diseases at their earliest stage, track progression and monitor the effect of therapy.

Positron emission tomography (PET) imaging can obtain crucial information about synaptic density that cannot be acquired through other approaches. Previous research identified a radiotracer (11C-UCB-J) for the synaptic vesicle protein 2 (SV2A) that was successfully used to image synaptic density in vivo; however, its characteristics were not conducive to clinical use.

"We set out to develop 18F-labeled SV2A tracers with imaging characteristics comparable to those of 11C-UCB-J," said Zhengxin Cai, Ph.D., of the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at Yale University. Cai, together with Songye Li, Ph.D., and colleagues from the Yale PET Center, were able to successfully synthesize and evaluate a number of novel SV2A tracers with attractive imaging properties: high brain uptake, fast tissue kinetics, and high specific binding signals in the brain. "With a longer half-life," Cai said, "our new tracers are suitable for multicenter clinical trials, routine clinical use and potential commercialization."

As new generations of drugs are undergoing clinical trials for neurodegenerative diseases, the new radiotracers will be able to facilitate the development of therapies, providing a novel tool for identifying which patients may benefit from a particular treatment and then for assessing its therapeutic effect.

"The successful development of our new SV2A PET tracers for synaptic density imaging and their use in the study of a variety of neurologic and psychiatric disorders will play a crucial role in CNS drug discovery and development," said Yiyun Henry Huang, professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Director of Chemistry at the Yale PET Center, and senior author of the research presented at the meeting.

Explore further: Scientists apply new imaging tool to common brain disorders

More information: Abstract 69: "In vivo imaging evaluation of a novel 18F-labeled SV2A PET tracer in nonhuman primates," Zhengxin Cai, Songye Li, Daniel Holden, Shu-fei Lin, Anupama Shirali, Paul Emery, Michael Kapinos, Jim Ropchan, Nabeel Nabulsi, Richard E. Carson and Yiyun Huang, Yale University, New Haven, CT; and Wenjie Zhang, West China Hospital, New Haven, CT. SNMMI 2018 Annual Meeting, June 23-26, 2018, Philadelphia. jnm.snmjournals.org/content/59 … 33-a2c3-ac4375122329

Related Stories

Scientists apply new imaging tool to common brain disorders

July 20, 2016
A Yale-led team of researchers developed a new approach to scanning the brain for changes in synapses that are associated with common brain disorders. The technique may provide insights into the diagnosis and treatment of ...

PET tracer gauges effectiveness of promising Alzheimer's treatment

December 6, 2017
In the December featured basic science article in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, Belgian researchers report on the first large-scale longitudinal imaging study to evaluate BACE1 inhibition with micro-PET in mouse models ...

Using tau imaging as diagnostic marker for Alzheimer disease

July 25, 2016
The accumulation of β-Amyloid (Αβ) and tau proteins in the brain is hallmark pathology for Alzheimer disease. Recently developed positron emission tomography (PET) tracers, including [18F]-AV-1451, bind to tau in neurofibrillary ...

Proteomics analyses could present new opportunities to diagnose and treat dementias

January 9, 2018
One of the most intriguing properties of the brain is its means to undergo synaptic plasticity which represents the basis for learning and memory, abilities that severely decline in the case of a dementia. New research, published ...

Alzheimer's disease: Neuronal loss very limited

January 17, 2018
Frequently encountered in the elderly, Alzheimer's is considered a neurodegenerative disease, which means that it is accompanied by a significant, progressive loss of neurons and their nerve endings, or synapses. A joint ...

PET imaging with special tracer can detect and diagnose early Alzheimer's disease

May 24, 2016
The effort to find ways to detect and diagnose preclinical Alzheimer's disease (AD) has taken a big step forward with the use of positron emission tomography (PET), a "nuclear medicine" for imaging processes in the body, ...

Recommended for you

Exercise may delay cognitive decline in people with rare Alzheimer's disease

September 25, 2018
For individuals carrying a genetic mutation that causes Alzheimer's disease, engaging in at least 2.5 hours of physical activity per week may have beneficial effects on markers of Alzheimer's disease brain changes and may ...

Scientists reveal ground-breaking plan to target cause of Alzheimer's disease

September 24, 2018
A breakthrough has been made in the fight against Alzheimer's disease—researchers have found a new way to target the toxic particles that destroy healthy brain cells.

A biomarker in the brain's circulation system may be Alzheimer's earliest warning

September 24, 2018
USC scientists say Alzheimer's could be diagnosed earlier if scientists focus on an early warning within the brain's circulation system.

In landmark study, doctors say test identifies people most likely to get Alzheimer's

September 24, 2018
The beginning was the worst. It frustrated Janet Parkerson when her father started to forget what he had done that day or the day before.

Study clarifies ApoE4's role in dementia

September 20, 2018
ApoE4, a protein linked to both Alzheimer's disease and a form of dementia caused by damage of blood vessels in the brain, increases the risk of cognitive impairment by reducing the number and responsiveness of blood vessels ...

Machine learning IDs markers to help predict Alzheimer's

September 19, 2018
Nearly 50 million people worldwide have Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia. These irreversible brain disorders slowly cause memory loss and destroy thinking skills, eventually to such an extent that self-care ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.