Imagine a Parkinson’s diagnosis where the doctor orders a spinal fluid or blood sample as an early detection test. This biomarker test for Parkinson’s analyzes the presence and quantity of Prions, aka misfolded protein aggregates that are the culprit of the disease.
Comparative analysis between test results of people with and without Parkinson’s might help patients with genetic predispositions or traumatic head injuries compare results to assess their risk of the disease. Test assessment may help doctors match patients with drugs, determine how well a drug or lifestyle change is working, and/or track how the disease is progressing.
Such a dream may become a reality within the next 18 months thanks to Amprion, a biotech company that pioneers the Prion Early Detection Science℠ behind misfolded protein aggregates. The company is currently working through the FDA approval process. Amprion’s premise is that the key to success in finding a cure for Parkinson’s is early detection.
Why has early detection been so challenging?
In an Amprion video that explains how their science works https://bit.ly/2uRod1G Amprion Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Claudio Soto, PhD, explains that the main problem for clinical diagnosis is that it is based on symptoms. “Symptoms come after a large part of the brain is destroyed. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are produced by the accumulation of mis-folded proteins in the brain that cause toxicity and destroy the brain.”
Dr. Soto continues, “The misfolded proteins then travel in the blood throughout the body. The amount of misfolded proteins in the blood and peripheral organs is so small, it’s impossible to detect by standard techniques. The challenge is that the aggregation of misfolded proteins is in large amounts only in the brain where it is difficult to access. You can’t do a brain biopsy for diagnosis.”
In an Amprion video https://amprionme.com
Dr. Russ Lebovitz, CEO/PhD/MD, who co-founded Amprion with Dr. Soto differentiates Parkinson’s and other neuro-degenerative brain diseases from cancer saying that they’re not caused by specific mutations but by normal proteins misfolding as we age into abnormal shapes that are toxic.
Amprion’s breakthrough Prion Early Detection Science is able to detect these misfolded protein biomarkers at very low concentration even prior to the appearance of clinical disease.
Dr. Lebovitz and Dr. Soto are very optimistic that misfolded protein aggregates detected with their technology will predict the onset of the disease and enable doctors to monitor its progression. The presence of misfolded protein aggregates in large amounts in biological fluids would be equivalent to either having clinical disease or having a very high risk of imminent disease. Lower amounts may actually suggest that the disease process is just starting and clinical symptoms may appear years or decades later, providing a good window for therapeutic intervention before irreversible damage occurs in the brain.
Dr. Soto, Professor of Neurology and Director of the George and Cynthia Mitchell Center for Alzheimer’s disease and related Brain Disorders at the University of Texas Medical School has been strategically funded by Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research (MJFF) for the past four years to develop and refine the technology.
“Dr. Soto has developed an innovative method to measure aggregation of misfolded proteins and it could serve as a potential biomarker” said Kuldip Dave, Director of Research Programs at MJFF. “We hope that this assay and technology can be further validated to obtain a reliable biomarker the research community so desperately needs right now.”
After regulatory approval, and validation for method development, Amprion looks forward to presenting early detection testing options to the Parkinson’s community.
Amprion pioneers Prion Early Detection Science℠. The company’s breakthrough Prion Early Testing℠ tracks the biomarkers — Prions (aka misfolded proteins) — that cause Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s prior to any clinical symptoms. Early detection is the key in finding the cure. Team Amprion is blazing the trail in reinventing successful drug development to cure the incurables. We are working to end Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s before we lose another generation. Learn more about Amprion: https://AmprionMe.com