Skip to main content
Funded Studies

Discovery of PET Tracers for Measuring Alpha-synuclein

This grant builds upon the research from a prior grant: Alpha-Synuclein PET Tracer Discovery

Study Rationale: The discovery of new treatments for Parkinson’s disease (PD) has been slowed by the amount of time (years) it takes to determine whether a drug was effective in a clinical trial. New tests that can inform doctors that a new treatment is working would speed the discovery of new medicines for PD. The studies described in this project aim to develop a new imaging test that will allow measurement of toxic clumps of alpha-synuclein protein, a defining marker of PD, in the brains of living patients. 

Hypothesis: We hypothesize that development of tracers capable of imaging alpha-synuclein protein in an individual’s brain will provide a new test for PD that will allow doctors to determine if new drugs are working by measuring changes in alpha-synuclein accumulation.

Study Design: First, we plan to conduct clinical studies in PD patients with a new molecule discovered in our previous MJFF project. We hope this molecule will demonstrate, for the first time, the ability to image alpha-synuclein pathology in people with PD. Second, we plan to improve on this molecule to create an alpha-synuclein imaging agent optimized to be useful in clinical studies of drugs to cure PD.

Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease: If successful, our alpha-synuclein imaging agent can help determine more quickly and confidently whether a new treatment is successful in people with PD. It will also improve doctors’ understanding of the disease by relating an individual’s symptoms and disease progression to changes in alpha-synuclein.

Next Steps for Development: If approved, the project will spend approximately one year testing our proof-of-concept molecule in formulation, safety and human imaging experiments as well as optimizing our current series of compounds.   

Trial Phase: Preclinical / Clinical


  • Helen Mitchell, PhD

    West Point, PA United States

  • Eric D. Hostetler, PhD

    West Point, PA United States

Discover More Grants

Within the Same Program

Within the Same Funding Year

We use cookies to ensure that you get the best experience. By continuing to use this website, you indicate that you have read our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.