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A noninvasive optical imaging of retinal amyloid beta deposits in AD patients

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R41AG044897-01
Agency Tracking Number: R41AG044897
Amount: $150,874.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: NIA
Solicitation Number: PA12-089
Solicitation Year: 2013
Award Year: 2013
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
1395 GARDEN HWY, STE 250
SACRAMENTO, CA 95833-9771
United States
DUNS: 54116011
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (310) 423-7374
Business Contact
Phone: (916) 798-3408
Research Institution
8700 BEVERLY BLVD, 6500, WIL #1150
LOS ANGELES, CA 90048-1804
United States

 () -
 Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive and invariably fatal degenerative dementia and the most common form of dementia that currently affects over 5 million Americans. The quality of life and economic costs are significant with estimated U.S. health care payments of over 200 billion in 2012, plus unpaid care by over 15 million Americans that is valued at 210 billion. A noninvasive diagnosis of AD and especially at early stage is essential for effective treatment andpresents an urgent unmet need. Since existing noninvasive brain imaging technologies cannot provide sufficient detail about micrometer-size changes, tissue evaluation is limited in both specificity and resolution, and the most definitive diagnosis of AD currently comes at time of autopsy. At the core of our application is the identification of amyloid-beta protein (Abeta) plaques, characteristic of AD pathology, in postmortem and live human retina of AD patients, and possibly at early stages of the disease. The discovery of Abeta plaques in postmortem retinas of AD patients was demonstrated in a study published by our Cedars-Sinai research team, which are also the founding members of NeuroVision, LLC. (NVI). Further development of a novel noninvasive retinal imaging approach by our team to detect these plaques by curcumin labeling in live AD transgenic mouse models, allowed for the in vivo imaging of Abeta plaques at unprecedented high sensitivity and specificity. The fundamental advantages of feasibility, cost and ease-of use of retinal imaging make it an attractive modality, with great potential for unequivocal early diagnosis and monitoring of AD. The principal goal of this STTR grant application is to create and validate a noninvasive retinal imaging methodology to detect Abeta deposits in the retina of AD and mild cognitive impairment patients. A major strength of this application relies on the tight collaboration between the Cedars-Sinai research group (specializing in imaging retinal AD pathology), KB Imaging Solutions LLC (image processing experts), and NeuroVision Imaging LLC (leaders in commercializing ophthalmic devices and imaging systems). It has the potential to develop, validate, and eventually commercialize a novel noninvasive retinal Abeta imaging technology to facilitate AD diagnosis, with the following specific objectives: 1) To examine the geographic location of Abeta plaques and retinal layers in the postmortem retina of AD patients so as to guide the subsequent imaging protocol; 2) To optimize the imaging device and software for curcumin fluorescence and improve signal level for the detection of Abeta plaques; and 3) To perform an initial clinical imaging study and use the data to automate the calculation of a Retinal Amyloid Index (RAI), aquantitative measure of amyloid in the retina. With the current limitations in obtaining a definitive and early diagnostic test for AD, the commercial implications of the proposed study have the potential to make a significant impact on the market.PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The objective of this research is to develop a simple, non-invasive and widely available screening test for Alzheimer's disease that involves ophthalmic imaging to detect amyloid-beta plaques in the retina. By detecting plaques in the retina, before symptoms appear will allow earlier intervention to reduce the severity of the disease, reducing health costs and providing better quality of life.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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