As the Parkinson’s field starts to solve the problem of how to detect toxic α-synuclein in the brain, it’s closing in on imaging agents that could de-risk clinical trials. Phase I data expected this year could give a glimpse of whether new PET agents are up to the job, avoiding the poor selectivity that has thwarted the tools’ success so far.
The hope is that an α-synuclein PET agent could provide drug developers with a molecular diagnostic and a biomarker of therapeutic response for the disease.
Because α-synuclein aggregates are the key pathological feature of Parkinson’s disease (PD), the hypothesis is that depleting existing aggregates, or preventing their formation, will treat the disease. At least 15 anti-α-synuclein therapies are in development, including seven in the clinic, according to BioCentury’s BCIQ database.
However, there is no good way to visualize whether a therapy intended to reduce α-synuclein aggregates in the brain has actually done so.