Imanova plays central role in world’s most in-depth study to detect Alzheimer’s and identify early signs of the disease

A new multimillion-pound study, which will see the most thorough and rigorous series of tests to detect Alzheimer’s disease ever performed on volunteers, is announced today. The Deep and Frequent Phenotyping study is funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) and hopes to dramatically improve the success rate of clinical trials for treatments in Alzheimer’s disease.

This landmark £6.9m research project has been designed to identify measurable characteristics, known as biomarkers, which can detect the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease very early on in the progression of the disease - when a person may have no obvious symptoms.

Imanova, a translational research company that specialises in applying positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning techniques to improve productivity in early drug development and to help improve disease understanding, will play a central role in the study. Established in 2011 Imanova was formed in an innovative alliance between the UK's Medical Research Council, Imperial College London, King's College London and University College London to act as a conduit between academia and industry.

One of the central technologies being employed as part of this study is positron emission tomography (PET). PET allows for the measurement of the two key pathological hallmarks of AD through the use of radiotracers that image beta-amyloid and tau.

DPF PET scan images.PNG.PNG

Imanova has already performed all of the PET imaging with beta-amyloid and tau tracers as part of the Deep & Frequent Phenotyping (D&FP) feasibility study and will be one of the sites involved in the full study. Roger Gunn, who is CSO at Imanova and Prof of Molecular Neuroimaging at Imperial College, is leading the PET component of the D&FP study.

The overall objective of the Deep and Frequent Phenotyping study is to build on the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging (ADNI) - family studies and to complement the Global Alzheimer Platform - Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease (GAP-PAD) studies by providing data for very deep phenotyping with established and novel biomarkers together with very frequent phenotyping with repeated measures over a period of 12 months.The goal is a biomarker set that can be used for measuring change in proof of concept clinical trials in pre-dementia and possibly also to function as a selection marker predictive of disease progression.

Imanova will harness its newly installed PET-MRI scanner, funded by the MRC’s UK Dementia Platform, to enable high-quality multi-modal images for this study as well as managing the central analysis of all the PET data.

Prof Roger Gunn says “PET imaging of beta-amyloid and tau provides us with a unique window into the brain of the neurodegenerative process in AD. PET’s molecular specificity and sensitivity allows us to accurately measure the concentration of these misfolded proteins at different times in the disease process. Imanova is excited to be part of the UK Dementia Platform that will deliver the imaging component of the Deep & Frequent Phenotyping study."