We are delighted to announce that PSPA-funded researcher Prof James Rowe and his team have published the outcomes of some the work we supported in the prestigious medical journal “Brain”.
The Cambridge University group used a special type of brain scan, known as a PET scan, to compare the distribution of the disease-associated protein tau in the brains of people with PSP, Alzheimer’s Disease and healthy controls. PET scanning involves the use of a special injected “dyes” known as a radioligands, which bind to particular substances, in this case tau, and highlight them on the resulting scan image.
The researchers were able to demonstrate that the radioligand they used showed a clear difference in the pattern of tau distribution between healthy brains, those affected by PSP and those with Alzheimer’s. This means that PET scanning with this radioligand could be a useful tool in distinguishing Alzheimer’s from PSP during diagnosis and in measuring the effects of new drugs.
Crucially, the researchers were able to compare their scan results with the distribution of tau and other proteins in generously donated post mortem brain tissue. This meant that they were able to rule out the suggestion that the radioligand was binding to a substance called neuromelanin instead of tau and producing erroneous results.
PhD student Patricia Vazquez Rodriguez, whose has featured in previous editions of PSP Matters, was heavily involved in this work and occupies the well-earned and prestigious position of joint first author on the paper.
“We are so grateful to all of our wonderful study participants and those who so kindly donated their brain tissue” said Patricia. “This progress would not have been possible without them.” Here at PSPA we are also indebted to our amazing supporters for enabling us to fund this research. Thank you!
You can read the abstract for the Brain paper at here