Stroke is one of the most common causes of death in the world and a major cause of long-term disability. Ischemic stroke, which results from the occlusion of a cerebral artery, accounts for a vast majority of all stroke cases. Inflammation is one of the main contributors to post-stroke brain injury and thus represents an important therapeutic target. Limiting the inflammatory response to ischemic brain injury can improve outcome in animal models of stroke. However, the results of the few prospective clinical trials employing anti-inflammatory strategies were either negative or inconclusive. There is therefore an urgent need to couple the search for novel therapeutic approaches with the development of companion diagnostic tools that will allow for: (i) stratification of patients; and (ii) treatment assessment and monitoring.
NanoBrain is based on the ground-breaking concept of using Mac-1, an integrin widely used by neuropathologists and basic scientists to assess neuroinflammation (also known as alpha M/beta-2, complement receptor 3 or CD11b/CD18), as a translational imaging target in stroke. Our specific aims are two-fold: 1) To develop a multimodal imaging nanoprobe (MRI, spectral CT, intravital microscopy) with optimal properties for in-vivo molecular imaging and a safe profile; and 2) To establish the proof-of-concept that in-vivo imaging of Mac-1 is valuable and feasible in pre-clinical models of stroke. The imaging probe is based on a patented nanoparticle which license is detained by our industrial partner (MATHYM). NanoBrain is thus expected to realize the full potential of molecular imaging, a field still in its infancy, and generate growth of the French diagnostics sector to the common benefit of citizens and industry.
This project is funded by the French Research National Agency (grant # ANR-15-CE18-0026-01). It started in October 2016 and it will end in April 2019.