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2008 Grants - Wadghiri
Susceptibility-Based Magnetic Resonance Imaging Detection of Alzheimer's Amyloid
Youssef Z. Wadghiri, Ph.D.
New York University School of Medicine
New York, New York
2008 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
At the present time, physicians diagnose Alzheimer's disease and monitor its progression using standard neurologic tests. There are no established imaging methods that can be used diagnose the disease, monitor its progression or assess the effectiveness of treatment. Indeed, final confirmation of the diagnosis can only be performed after the patient has died, when a pathologist can confirm the presence of amyloid plaques in the brain.
Youssef Z. Wadghiri, Ph.D., and colleagues are working to develop magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques that will enable amyloid plaques to be detected and monitored in living patients with suspected Alzheimer's disease. To develop these techniques, they are performing MRI in mice that have been genetically modified to develop amyloid plaque in the brain.
The researchers are using an artificially created, nontoxic chemical probe that resembles beta-amyloid, the protein fragment that aggregates to form amyloid plaque. This probe contains a magnetic label that allows it to be detected by MRI after it is injected into the animal's bloodstream. They have shown that the probe allows them to detect amyloid plaques in the mouse brain. However, their probe currently does not accurately quantify the amount of amyloid plaque and, therefore, cannot be used to measure disease severity or rate of disease progression.
Dr. Wadghiri and colleagues plan to test a new type of probe that is believed to label amyloid plaque to a much higher degree. They plan to test whether this probe will allow MRI to quantify the amount of amyloid plaque present in the brain and to monitor the continued accumulation of plaque. These studies could provide a valuable new tool for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease, as well monitoring the effectiveness of potential disease-modifying treatments.