The promise of predictive pharmacodynamic biomarkers in neuroscience drug discovery and development through non-invasive, translational imaging is stronger than ever. We have seen a surge of preclinical and clinical validation of PET-, SPECT-, and MRI-based imaging tracers and biomarkers. These today provide highly specific information in tackling major diseases including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, stroke, Huntington’s, and psychiatric disorders.

To leverage the power of state-of-the-art imaging instruments including PET, SPECT, CT, and MRI, MI Bioresearch has developed the following applications for use in neuroscience drug discovery:

  • SPECT dopamine transporter imaging (e.g., the approved tracer ioflupane (123I) or DaTscan) – Measures impairment and improvement in dopamine transport function
  • PET image-based brain receptor occupancy quantification through small molecule 18F labeling radiochemistry – Clinically translatable PD biomarkers/companion molecules for CNS targeted drugs
  • 18F-FDG PET imaging of spatially resolved CNS drug pro-cognitive effects – Provides quantitative correlates and PD biomarkers for behavioral effects, as well as identifies target brain regions
  • CT and MRI quantitation of brain volume

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) has unmet needs for translational therapeutic response biomarkers that can be used in discovery and clinical trials. SPECT imaging of the dopamine transporter using the approved imaging agent, 123I-ioflupane (DaTscan), has become a standard in the clinic and can be used preclinically to quantify dopamine transporter loss and recovery.

We offer DaTscan SPECT imaging and other imaging biomarkers in PD models and are leveraging the increasingly available transgenic PD rodent to determine drug efficacy and to test clinical paradigms.

See our related poster that was presented at WMIC in 2015

123I-DaTscan SPECT in 6-OHDA Rats

123I-IFP SPECT in vs BAC SYN rats

Contact us to obtain further information, discuss a potential study or to receive a copy of our published poster on: Translational imaging biomarkers in rodent models of Parkinson’s: 123I-ioflupane SPECT/CT imaging of the dopamine transporter and 18F-FDG PET/CT imaging of metabolism.

FDG-PET Imaging of CNS Activity in Rodents

18F-FDG is used as a pharmacodynamic biomarker for brain metabolism and can be applied across various neuroscience indications, most notably in neurodegenerative (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease) and psychiatric disorders. FDG-PET allows for quantitative measurement of drug activity in specific brain regions and can be correlated with behavioral measures.

Figure 3 (below): Glucose metabolism modulation in wild type (WT BAC) vs α-synuclein transgenic rats (BAC SYN) over time.

F18-FDG PET Results A
Representative PET images of FDG brain uptake. Arrows indicate striatum.
F18-FDG PET Results B
FDG PET imaging shows significantly increased metabolism in both the striatum and cortex of WT BAC rats after five months disease progression, and compared to WT BAC rats.

18F PET Imaging of CNS Receptor Occupancy in Rodents

MI Bioresearch performs studies of CNS targeted small molecule tracers and therapies using 18F PET. As relevant CNS receptor targets that translate to humans, rodents can be considered for efficient and cost-effective screening of receptor occupancy prior to nonhuman primate or human studies. Rodents also can be used to assess specificity of tracer molecules, dose dependence of receptor occupancy, and non-specific binding.


We have experience in rodent models of stroke and multiple sclerosis and are continually bringing on new disease models and applications and doing custom model development. Contact us to discover what we can do for your neuroscience drug program.