Parexel has added functional magnetic resonance imaging technology (fMRI) to its early phase units to advance CNS research.
The company says this advanced image scanning system will improve biomarker testing and help sponsors better understand the impact of compounds earlier in disease progression. fMRI achieves this by measuring hemodynamic response – or change in blood flow – related to neural activity in the brain or spinal cord.
“We are helping the biopharmaceutical industry take a major step forward to leverage advanced technologies in the assessment of CNS (central nervous system) diseases,” said Larry Ereshefsky, vice president and early phase principal consultant for Parexel.
“Our goals are to diagnose and treat ahead of significant brain and neurological damage, and open the door for disease course modifying drugs, including primary and secondary prevention strategies.”
Parexel says it is among the first organisations to apply the technology to multi centre trials with centralised image review processes, thereby improving the quality, consistency and reproducibility of clinical data.
According to Parexel, its new research-enhanced fMRI system will provide greater speed and advanced image detail, along with greater scanning flexibility. The unit is enabled with 3 Tesla (3T) power – a measurement based on the strength of its magnetic field – allowing the detection of smaller drug-induced changes in brain function.
Due to this improved image quality, researchers using the system will have the ability to determine which regions of the brain are activated or deactivated by various drug effects with more certainty.
The company says this more sensitive measurement capability may be especially beneficial in complex clinical studies focussed on disease course modification techniques and improved symptomatic therapies.
Ereshefsky claims the new system helps keep the company at the forefront of CNS drug development.
“Parexel continues to provide clients with true leadership in early phase CNS drug development—combining the latest technology with our extensive scientific expertise and CNS research tools, including cerebrospinal fluid dynabridging studies,” he said.