Development of new biomarkers and brain imaging techniques for Dementia and Parkinsonian disorders: key tools for exploring etiology to improve diagnosis and advance drug development
Swedish Research Council
The pathologies of Alzheimer´s (AD) and Parkinson´s (PD) start 10-20 years before overt clinical symptoms, opening a window for early diagnosis and treatment. To exploit this opportunity we intend to develop methods for early and accurate diagnosis so that treatment can be initiated before irreversible neurodegeneration has occurred. Efforts to advance diagnosis as well as developing new therapies will require research on humans, and we will therefore use our solid and successful clinical research experience to create a new human experimental system for AD and PD. We include well-characterized and clinically relevant populations of patients and healthy elderly that are followed prospectively for at least 4 years. Participants repeatedly undergo cognitive and psychiatric evaluation, provide blood and cerebrospinal fluid, and have brain imaging using advanced MRI protocols and amyloid PET. Tissue samples for isolating cells that can be reprogrammed into brain cells are also obtained and experimental cell biology data will be individually linked to clinical data. Blood, CSF and cell samples will be analyzed with e.g. quantitative mass spectrometry and high sensitivity immunoassays. New knowledge about the molecular pathologies of AD and PD will be vital for improving the clinical diagnostic work-up and drug discovery. Such advances would ease the human and societal burden of these diseases with an anticipated dramatic increase in prevalence as the elderly population grows.