How Neurofilament Light (NfL)could track Neurodegenerative Diseases


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.


Cerveau Technologies Partners With University of Pittsburgh

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.

250px-PDB_1i8h_EBIThe 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.



A Recap Of This Year’s Nobel Lectures


6The 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.