PrintImanova is now inviting applications for the 4th IMPETus Pilot Grants Programme. The programme is open to academic researchers around the UK who wish to conduct a pilot Positron Emission Tomography (PET) study to generate early data in novel applications and support a full grant application. In the case study below, Imanova explore how the programme helped to facilitate a breakthrough in the field of Huntingdon’s disease.

The importance of PET imaging

Drug development is a time consuming, complex, risky and expensive venture. There is an increasing requirement to find ways to accelerate and reduce the cost of decision making so that only the best candidate molecules progress to the later stages of drug development.

Using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging, researchers can visualise the absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion properties of a potential drug candidate. One of the key benefits of PET imaging is the ability to visualise candidate target-engagement in vivo. This allows researchers and companies to accurately predict the effectiveness of a drug within humans earlier in the drug development process, ensuring the resources are used efficiently and effectively. In addition to the PET imaging, utilisation of state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides advanced structural and functional information.

The IMPETus award is for PET and related MRI scans necessary to optimise the quantification of the PET data. The aim of the each project is the acquisition of pilot data sufficient to be used for independent research programmes, undertaken at Imanova. Previous successful applicants have benefitted through the scheme by generating valuable data to secure funding for more significant research in their field.

Case study

One of the projects that was previously granted the award was an [11C]IMA107 PET study to assess the expression of PDE-10A enzyme in Huntington’s disease gene carriers.

In this study, we used combined PET and multimodal MR imaging to assess the expression of the enzyme phosphodiesterase 10A (PDE-10A) in vivo in a unique cohort of 12 early premanifest Huntington’s disease (HD) gene carriers with a mean of 25 years before the predicted onset of clinical symptoms. The study identified that early premanifest HD gene carriers had abnormal expression of PDE-10A enzyme associated with the risk of symptomatic conversion.

The findings represented a major breakthrough in the field of HD by reporting the earliest biochemical abnormality identified in HD to date, and showing bidirectional alteration of PDE-10A signalling within the neuropathological salient networks in HD gene carriers up to 43 years before the development of overt clinical symptoms, which are crucial to prognosis.

Research projects assessing PDE-10A expression in neurodegenerative disorders such as HD and Parkinson’s disease have brought funding from high profile charities such as the Michael J Fox Foundation and gave the opportunity to apply for funding to several bodies. Collectively, these studies suggest an extended role for the importance of PDE-10A expression in the clinical presentation of movement disorders.

The above study is just one example of the potential impact of the IMPETus award programme.

These awards are extremely important for Imanova to realise their mission of enabling innovation in the drug development process through the application of imaging.

For more information on the 4th IMPETus Awards, visit http://bit.ly/1L16KYe.