Novel technology for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease – clinical prototypes

2014  -  Thunder Bay, ON, CA


Lakehead University, St Joseph’s Care Group, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

Project description

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an incurable disease caused by the degeneration of brain cells, affecting more than 20 million people globally. Development of effective drugs for treatment of AD has so far been largely unsuccessful. Creation of improved AD drugs will depend in part on an enhanced ability to assess neural function so as to provide superior assessment of the effect specific drugs are having on neural function in AD patients. The goal of the proposed program is to develop a high-resolution, high-sensitivity imaging tool, HP 129Xe functional brain MRI (HP 129Xe fMRI), that can provide more sensitive measurement of brain function in people with AD. The development of HP 129Xe fMRI for humans will provide enhanced sensitivity, relative to traditional proton-based MR brain imaging methods, for assessing neural function. By providing more sensitive data that can assist with development of more effective drugs, this innovative imaging tool promises to contribute to improved health care outcomes for AD patients.

Relevance to the acceleration of therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases of aging

Up until now, creation of drugs for successfully treating neurodegenerative diseases has been constrained by limitations in tools available for assessing neural function to evaluate the effects specific drugs have on cognition and memory. This proposed project holds significant relevance to accelerating the development of therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases of aging because it will provide a higher-sensitivity tool capable of detecting more subtle changes in neural function, which will in turn permit more sensitive evaluation of therapeutic efficacy and thus more effective optimization of drug development.

Anticipated outcome

By carrying out this project, we expect to have developed and validated a high-sensitivity imaging tool, HP 129Xe fMRI, that can be used to evaluate the specific effects therapeutics and other interventions have on treating Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. By permitting evaluation of the effect therapeutics have on neural function on a subtler level than is afforded by presently existing imaging tools, we anticipate that HP 129Xe fMRI will be able to be successfully used in pharmacological research that will accelerate development of effective drugs.