Development of a PET tracer targeting α-synuclein in neurodegenerative disease

Research describing a novel Positron Emission Tomography (PET) tracer designed to detect α-synuclein pathology has recently been published in Nature Communications.

Alongside researchers from Lund University, Skåne University Hospital, Invicro, Karolinska Institute, and the University of Antwerp, Martin Schain, Director PET Imaging @ Antaros Medical contributed to this project with the analysis of PET data.

A common feature of neurodegenerative diseases is the aggregation of proteins such as β-amyloid, tau, and α-synuclein (α-syn). PET tracers have been successfully developed for β-amyloid and tau, which have provided opportunities for understanding how these aggregates contribute to the disease progression. For β-amyloid specifically, PET imaging has also verified that new drugs have the capacity to deplete the aggregates. So far, however, no reliable imaging biomarker has been available for α-syn.

In α-synucleinopathies, the aggregation of α-syn is believed to contribute to the degeneration of brain cells. The ability to visualise and quantify these aggregates in vivo could therefore enable earlier diagnoses and deepen our understanding of the disease progression. Parkinson’s disease (PD), Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and multiple system atrophy (MSA) are all α-synucleinopathies, and each show distinct clinical manifestations as well as differences in the underlying α-syn pathology.

[18F]ACI-12589 is a PET ligand that has been developed for detecting α-syn in vivo. As part of the research described in this publication, [18F]ACI-12589 was evaluated in healthy controls, patients with α-synucleinopathies (including PD, DLB, and MSA), as well as in patients with other neurodegenerative disorders.

PET tracers, such as [18F]ACI-12589, that target aggregated α-syn signify a long-awaited breakthrough and an important step towards developing treatments for α-synucleinopathies like PD and MSA. Such tracers could enable identification of patients at earlier stages of disease before substantial neurodegeneration. As the removal of α-syn aggregates is also a mechanism driving drug development, such PET tracers can also provide insights regarding how well these drugs are working in clinical trials.

You can find the publication details below.

Title: The α-synuclein PET tracer [18F]ACI-12589 distinguishes multiple system atrophy from other neurodegenerative diseases
Authors: Smith R, Capotosti F, Schain M, Ohlsson T, Vokali E, Molette J, Touilloux T, Hliva V, Dimitrakopoulos IK, Puschmann A, Jögi J, Svenningsson P, Andréasson M, Sandiego C, Russell DS, Miranda-Azpiazu P, Halldin C, Stomrud E, Hall S, Bratteby K, Tampio L´ Estrade E, Luthi-Carter R, Pfeifer A, Kosco-Vilbois M, Streffer J, Hansson O

Find the publication here.

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