DREADD (Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs) technology is an exciting chemogenetic tool allowing the hijacking of neurons by a molecular switch to remotely activate or silence them.
DREADD are engineered G-protein coupled receptors that can be injected into discrete brain nuclei. Once expressed, the mutated receptors are only activated by inert drug-like small molecules injected peripherally.
In collaboration with Dr Ilse Pienner and Prof David Dexter (Imperial College London), Imanova performed this first-of-kind study by combining DREADD technology with preclinical PET imaging. By exclusively targeting nuclei of interest in a Parkinson’s disease model, a DREADD switch was used to activate neurons and image the dynamic release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the striatum. This study supports the therapeutic potential of targeting nuclei of interest with DREADD and translation to the clinic by using a non-invasive PET imaging approach to measure endogenous dopamine release.
Lisa Wells, Head of Biology at Imanova and co-author of this study commented: “Combining DREADD and PET technologies offers us a powerful molecular approach to elucidate neuronal pathway contributions and measure endogenous neurotransmitter release. We can support the translation of this “molecular switch” into clinical utility through PET imaging”
With a strong presence at BrainPET, this year Imanova has 5 other platform presentations spanning serotonin and endorphin neurotransmitter release, amyloid quantification, tau imaging in CBD and glucocorticoids impact on inflammation.
Imanova is a world-leading expert in imaging sciences and their application to the understanding of disease and translational drug development. Its industry expertise and extensive links with clinicians and scientists in academia provide unrivalled capabilities to facilitate drug development.