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Molecular Imaging in NeuroDegeneration – Mitochondria, Associated Proteins and Synapses (MINDMAPS) is a programme brings together the best brains from pharma and academia to test an important new method to distinguish the early cell-level signs of dysfunction that characterise all  degenerative brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. For the first time, they’re using PET scanning – an advanced brain imaging technique – to look at changes in mitochondria and synapses. Mitochondria are the 'power stations' of all cells supplying the energy required for cell function, while synapses are key regions where brain cells communicate with each other. Most critically, the investigators will use the same methods and imaging tools compare the different different degenerative diseases. This immensely important step forward in dementia research is only made possible because of the diverse team assembled for this study.

The value of collaboration

Dr Eugenii Rabiner of Invicro, leads MIND MAPS – a collaboration between Invicro, the world’s leading neuroscience translational imaging centre, six industry partners (AbbVie, Biogen, Celgene, Hamamatsu Photonics, Pfizer and Takeda) and UK’s leading academic centres (King’s College, Imperial College, University College, Cambridge, Newcastle).   Each partner has contributed their particular expert knowledge. Invicro provided the overall scientific design and cutting edge imaging methodologies, the academic partners contribute disease specific knowledge and expertise in patient selection and care. Industry partners provide the knowledge of promising treatment targets and treatments. The collaboration combines these ingredients to ensure that the techniques being developed and tested by the team are truly fit for purpose to support future disease modifying clinical trials. It demonstrates a collaborative way of working that signposts the future of dementia research.