A Novel and non-invasive fMRI Biomarker of Neurodegenerative Disease

Reference #: 2013-033

OTC Contact: Ruchika Nijhara, Ph.D., MBA, CLP (Directory Information | Send a Message)

Categories: "Diagnostics"; "Research Tools"

DESCRIPTION

Synaptic dysfunction is common in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's Disease (AD), which is characterized by the loss of synapses in the brain. Hcorr, or local regional heterogeneity, is a novel and non-invasive fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) biomarker, which can effectively estimate synaptic dysfunction across brain regions through an fMRI scan. The direct measurement of those synaptic dysfunctions has been technically difficult and practically impossible, until now. We have convincing evidence suggesting that our technique can effectively predict progression of disease, and assess therapy effects in a much more effective and accurate manner than previous methods.

APPLICATION

  • Assess clinical behavioral and drug therapy effects as an ideal alternate from behavioral tests (which can be heavily affected by practicing through test-retest).
  • Early detection of Alzheimer’s disease with a direct link to cognitive symptoms.
  • Provides an additional tool to be used alone or in combination for clinical diagnosis.
  • Routine scan of individuals at high risk will help them to identify the earliest sign of disease, thus increasing the opportunity for an early intervention.

ADVANTAGES

  • Hcorr is a quantitative measure that can be quantitatively linked to cognitive performance and impairments.
  • Hcorr is highly sensitive in that it can detect early changes in the brain prior to the onset of behavioral symptoms.
  • Hcorr can be calculated for any functional or anatomical brain region from a single data set, which is ideal for Alzheimer's due to its widespread pathological changes.
  • It is non-invasive and can help asses therapy effects with a small sample size.
  • It can be repeated as many times as needed (FDA has no limit on how many MRI scans a person can receive within a time window).

STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT

Through three separate human studies, Hcorr has distinguished itself as a more accurate predictor of fMRI responses in the brain than conventional methods. In one study, Hcorr demonstrated that it could accurately detect early changes in the brain prior to the onset of behavioral systems in a study of HIV-positive women. In a separate study, Hcorr was able to quantitatively predict a behavioral assay’s score during two separate instances several months apart, thus suggesting that Hcorr is an ideal alternate measure to behavioral assays when assessing Alzheimer’s progression and/or therapy effect.

RELEVANT PUBLICATIONS

“A quantitative link between face discrimination deficits and neuronal selectivity for faces in autism”. Jiang et al., NeuroImage: Clinical, 2013. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2013.02.002.

“A novel technique to probe neural selectivity in absence of fMRI adaptation”. Jiang et al., Georgetown University Medical Center, 2011. Abstract.

“The heterogeneity of local regional correlation in hippocampus and caudate predicts behavioral performance in old adults”. Howard et al., Neuroscience, 2011. Abstract.

“Evidence for a relationship between the heterogeneity of local regional correlations within the VWFA and reading ability”. Eden et al., Society for Neuroscience, 2011. Abstract.

Press Release: “Difficulty in Recognizing Faces in Autism Linked to Performance in a Group of Neurons.” http://explore.georgetown.edu/news/?ID=69555&PageTemplateID=295

PATENT STATUS

Patent Pending

INVENTOR

Xiong Jang, Maximilian Riesenhuber