Diagnostics developer Cerveau Technologies has signed an agreement with the University of Washington (UW) in the US for the research projects of an early stage imaging agent, MK-6240, over the coming years.
The projects are for studies of the agent in positron emission tomography (PET) scans to evaluate the status and progression of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) in the brain.
Made of aggregated tau protein, NFTs are considered to be indicative of various neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Under the agreement, the university will manufacture and supply the imaging agent needed for research initiatives in the greater Seattle region of the country.
The manufacturing will be carried out at the UW Radiology department’s cyclotron and radiochemistry facility.
UW Neurology and Radiology professor Dr Thomas Grabowski said: “The availability of tau PET scanning using [18F]MK-6240 will help us investigate the different mechanisms that advance Alzheimer’s disease in the brain, as well as mechanisms of resilience, and will provide a revolutionary progression biomarker to guide therapeutic trials across all stages of the disease, especially the early stages when symptoms may be absent or ambiguous.”
Researchers at the university plan to use MK-6240 PET scans to assess molecular imaging biomarkers of frontotemporal degeneration (FTD), a disease known to affect language and behaviour.
The imaging tools are expected to enable better differentiation between variants of FTD in living people.
Cerveau Technologies president and CEO Rick Hiatt said: “The collaboration with the UW Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and department of Radiology will provide access to our pharmaceutical partners in support of various therapy trials as well as facilitate novel research at the University of Washington in the pursuit of evaluating potential preventive treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease.”