With the development of drug research, the scientists of the Northeastern University can test the effects of the new drugs which are prepared for certain neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Researchers are now able to produce accurate data with new imaging technology. This method is developed by Northeastern’s Centre for Translational NeuroImaging (CTNI). It involves euthanising laboratory animals to study the development and the progression of the disease and the effective treatment of it.
Craig Ferris says that animal imaging is important “but the use of anaesthesia creates an artificial situation that can mask true drug activity”. However, when the animals are awake and active, the research can be conducted accurately and the results obtained are also appropriate. Ferris says that this testing has proved to increase the drug development process for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that work on the treatment of diseases related to the central nervous system. It is under a new business venture named Ekam Imaging, Inc., which was founded by Ferris and Graham Jones, that the imaging-based preclinical testing is performed. It has successfully produced eight patents focused on imaging of animals and a new method was adopted to track the injected drugs in order to be effectively evaluated. The centre uses various advanced techniques to obtain the desired results. These techniques include advanced three-dimensional brain “atlases” used for visualising data and imaging models for various diseases.
These technological inventions and improvements give scope to drug companies for taking efficient decisions about creating drug development programs. It will also reduce the cost of drugs as the money will only be present to spend on the production of already made therapeutics. This will provide the best treatment for people who suffer from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s as these diseases are often referred to as incurable.