Welcome to A Global Conversation.
Recently, there has been new evidence discovered in support that Neurofilament Light (NfL) protein can track neurodegeneration and disease progress within patients suffering from a wide variety of neurodegenerative disorders. NfL is a protein that is released into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) once a neuron dies. Scientists, led by Bob Olsson and Erik Portelius, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, found high levels of NfL in the cerebrospinal fluid of people suffering with these disorders where the more severe a person’s disease, the higher his or her CSF NfL . Olsson and colleagues had previously reported higher CSF NfL among 3356 people in Sweden who had various kinds of dementia.
The current study, led by Nicholas Cullen at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and others, examined 838 patients who had been treated at UPenn’s six different neurodegenerative disease centers beginning in 1996. Baseline CSF was sampled and all patients had undergone follow up cognitive testing for one to 18 years. In all patients, above average levels of NfL were found in the sampled CSF. Mini mental state examinations (MMSE) were conducted and showed that patients with higher NfL levels scored worse on the cognitive tests. This also meant that MMSE scores declined faster on subsequent cognitive tests in these same patients with higher levels of NfL.
“The study demonstrates that NfL is a reliable biomarker for neurodegeneration” said co-author Henrik Zetterberg, also from the University of Gothenburg. Recently, Zetterburg and his colleagues discovered that NfL in plasma mirrors levels in CSF, which means that scientists can likely get the same NfL results from a simple blood test. By easing the procedure, this could potentially increase enrollment in future studies and also allow for longer studies to be conducted that track changes in NfL over longer periods of time.
NfL also has the potential to help improve clinical trials and hopefully allow researchers to monitor whether drugs could slow neurodegeneration within patients. For example, in multiple sclerosis, CSF NfL levels fall in patients that have been treated with natalizumab. This means that NfL could potentially help predict when a person’s cognition will decline.
“Future autopsy work examining whether CSF NfL levels correlate with the degree of neuronal loss within each disorder will greatly improve our understanding of what these changes truly represent” wrote William Hu, Emory University, Atlanta.
A recent clinical study earlier this year, validates and shows that the [18F]MK-6240 is a promising, revolutionary tau tracer. It has the potential to be used towards disease-modifying therapies and even for diagnostic use in the future.
The study was performed in vitro on various subjects. 14 on post mortem brain tissues. In vivo quantification was put through 16 subjects ( out of those, 4 AD patients, 3 mild cognitive impairment patients, 6 healthy elderly subjects, 3 health young adults). They all underwent 180-min dynamic scans; and out of those 6 had arterial sampling for metabolite correction.
Through the results of the study, the [18F]MK-6240 showed its potential towards disease diagnosis and assessment of therapeutic interventions. The conclusion for the in vitro uptake was higher in AD patients but no difference found in the cerebellar gray matter. The in vivo [18F]MK-6240, however, showed favourable kinetics along with rapid brain delivery and washout.
With this imaging agent, there comes a new challenge in the field of Alzheimer’s disease and its research. They will become complimentary in validating existing amyloid -β tracers while enriching clinical trial on tau- positive subjects. They will also continue to improve precision in the staging of AD, continuously measuring the neurofibrillary tangles in the brain.
At Cerveau Technologies we’re working towards the vision of globally developing diagnostics and technology in partnership with Enigma Biomedical Group and Sinotau Pharmaceutical Group. In turn, these developments can have a profoundly positive impact on patients suffering from neurodegenerative disorders, like Alzheimer’s disease.
On June 22, Cerveau Technologies has signed an exciting agreement, one with the Kobe City Hospital Organization in Japan. This partnership will support multiple projects over the next coming years focused on manufacturing and supplying the [18F]MK-6240 needed for initiatives located in the Kansai area.
The research projects will explore studies entered around the early stage imaging agent (MK-6420) and how this can be utilized in Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans in order to assess and analyze the status and progression of the neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) in the brain.
These NFTs are the most commonly known markers of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, made up of abnormal accumulations of a protein called tau.
Dr. Michio Senda, MD, PhD, Director of Molecular Imaging at Kobe City Medical Center General Hospital (KCGH), which is managed by Kobe City Hospital Organization (KCHO), stated “Tau-PET imaging is an excellent tool of visualizing and evaluating neurofibrillary tangles in the living human brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease, tauopathies, or other brain disorders. It is also valuable for clinical trials of therapeutic drugs for those diseases, which will be facilitated in Japan by the collaboration with Cerveau.”
Together, Cerveau and Kobe city will benefit patients with brain diseases. the collaboration with KCHO will further and support the global production network in Europe, Canada, Japan, China, Singapore, Australia and the United States.
At Enigma Biomedical group, we’re focused on molecular imaging and medicine. We’re on a mission to progress developmental studies in brain health and accelerate them by offering an array of services, so that they’re able to impact the world on a vast, global scale.
From vaccine development to the revolution of genomics, we’re here to set a new standard of excellence.
Just last month, Enigma Biomedical Group announced an exciting collaboration with Invicro.
You may have heard of this company before; they’re the leading provider of imaging services and software in translational drug discovery and development. It’s all very exciting, and a step forward in brain health analysis.
Consistent with our vision, they’ll be focusing on the enhancement of Invicro’s Amyloid and Tau platforms. Together, Enigma Biomedical Group and Invicro will be working on multiple projects focused on neurodegeneration paired with a streamlined approach,
“We are extremely impressed by the Enigma portfolio and look forward to a great research partnership in the coming years” stated Dr. Jack Hoppin, Co-Founder and CEO of Invicro.
This partnership means many things, notable ones being broadening our access to the scientific public through biomarkers imaging and breakthrough algorithms and accelerating the neuro imaging clinical trials. This will support all of the informatics available to the medical community (like the pharmaceutical industry and our academic partners).
“This is an important step in accelerating critical biomarker research projects globally and supporting our pharmaceutical partners efforts to combat neurodegenerative disease.” States Lee-Anne Gibbs, President of Enigma Biomedical Group, “collaborating with Invicro’s IQ technology platform allows Enigma and our partners Cerveau and Meilleur, to continue to execute the collective strategy of providing biomarkers to industry and academics to accelerate research in the field of Neurodegenerative disease.”
Enigma is looking forward to this partnership and many more that will align with their mission and broaden access to novel research.
In a new press release, Cerveau Technologies has signed an agreement partnering with The University of Pittsburgh and their School of Medicine. With their encouragement in research projects and clinical applications, Cerveau is always focused on providing advanced treatment options for the devastating Alzheimer’s disease. In developing commercial strategies and collaborations for product that enhance clinical application, Cerveau is committed to growing their influence in the medical and university network.
The new partnership is committed to target and trace the progression of the neurofibrillary tangles in the brain through the revolutionary imaging agent ([18F]MK-6240), utilized in PET scans. These tangles in the brain, also referred to as (NFTS) are the first signs and most common markers of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. They consist of aggregated and built up tau protein, which are mostly commonly found in our neurons.
With the facilitation of the novel PET tracer in ongoing research and studies, science will move closer to understanding how aging affects the presence of Alzheimer’s. This partnership will be a huge benefit for the University’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centre, already being leaders in the field. It will further their participation in the PET scan pharmaceutical trials and make headway in finding preventive treatments for Dementia.
We’ve all heard of the wonderful health benefits that fitness and exercise are able to provide, but a new study from Australia reveals its significant positive influence on the brain.
Researchers from Australia’s National Institute of Complementary Medicine in Western Sydney University have found a correlation between aerobic exercise and brain health. This would naturally improve memory function and maintain the health of our minds even as it decreases with older age.
The average brain shrinks in size, vasculature and cognition as we reach our 40s. While some face it in drastic ways, most of us go through these changes at a natural pace. That’s why a healthy diet and regular exercise is essential even before we start noticing these changes.
In this study conducted on clinical trials, 737 participants were scanned before and after breaking a sweat in a controlled aerobic exercise setting. The ages ranging from 24 to 76 year olds and from healthy adults to individuals with mild to severe cognitive impairments. Fitness activities included walking, treadmill running and even indoor bicycling.
In the end, changes were not as noticed in the physical change to the volume of the hippocampus, but more so in the slowing brain deterioration overall. We can think of exercise as a type of slow motion button, keeping the mind still, in time.
The future of medical research is looking bright. Nobel week in Stockholm proved to showcase this year’s discoveries with a positive outlook on what’s to come from passionate scientists like Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Miachel Young. They took the stage in Aula Medica to share their inspiring lectures with the crowd after winning this year’s Nobel prize in Physiology and Medicine.
The speeches rose excitement with a focus on molecular mechanisms defining the way biological rhythms from living beings (animals,plants,us) are adapted to the Earth’s revolutions. In fact as Rosbash explained, more than 50% of our 20,000 genes are revealed in a rhythmic way. What’s really noteworthy is the realization that all living cells couple their mechanics to our solar system.
In attendance were plenty of different faces from students to researchers and notable international guests, all coming together in one place to celebrate, encourage and consider these exciting new discoveries. A collaborative and open mindedness sparked the lecture halls, proving that with ambition, persistence and acceptance can achieve anything.
Christmas is a time for reflecting on our thoughts under the glimmering lights of the tree. Showing gratitude to memories, accomplishments, all while spending it with the ones closest to you. It’s a time to remember and perhaps reconnect with people you may not see as often, whole giving thanks to those who are present in your everyday.
But within this reflection of thankfulness, some stories that surface during this time truly melt our hearts with their emotional weight and even, heartbreaking story telling. Such is the case of couple Barb and Harold Arnold, who shared their experience with Alzheimer’s through an open letter.
“Last Christmas we shared Barb’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. This year we would like to share what’s happening in our lives.”
Arnold goes on by describing how she feels on a day to day, “If you ask Barb how she’s feeling, she will answer, I feel fine. I just tire easily. I have tremors in both hands and forget things and have to jot down a quick reminder.”
The letter goes on by reminding us to truly be grateful for the things we have, especially our health, which can quickly escape us with time and quickly fleet away in the case of Alzheimer’s.
“Words like understanding, giving and receiving, sadness, happiness, dignity, appreciation now have a much clearer meaning to us. Enjoy every moment you have. This Alzheimer’s disease has taught us the true meaning of love, which to us is sharing. Barb and I are now closer than in years and enjoying life as it is,” Harold continues, finding light in this dark time. “She loves to take walks, read, warm at the fireplace, listen to music and talk radio shows, visit with friends and family.”
Sharing stories like these can help bring awareness to this terrible disease that affects millions every year across the globe. Harold’s letter has been picked up by local news and shared on social media sparking emotionally charged conversations.
We’re often used to seeing the progression of Alzheimer’s through medical imagery, statistics and various case studies. But nearly a day ago, a heartbreaking photo of crochet creations posted by Reddit user Rene Wuillermin has surfaced and changed this view by shifting it into viral visual story telling.
Since then, the photo has been shared hundreds of times, resonating as a tragic tapestry through and through, a representation of the brain’s deterioration in colourful stages, eventually leading to a dark, loose threaded scribble.
“I wanted people to really understand what’s happening for her sake and even just for my family to better understand what the process is,” Sara, now 34, told People this week.
The photo following Rene’s mum’s unraveling, has stirred quite the interest through online communities and news sources alike, with touching comments and supportive words pouring through.
“I thought about not clicking on your post cause it aches,” wrote a Facebook user, “but it’s almost comforting to know others could understand my family’s situation so well.”
“We lost our mom in September to Alzheimer’s but she had already disappeared, heartbreaking” said another.
Alzheimers to this day affects millions of people, across the globe with no cure available. This photo has brought the disease into the eyes of public in a familiar fashion, reminding everyone that Alzheimer’s is closer than you think.
“I hope sharing this story will help educate and advocate for more research for a cure.”