FDA approves PET imaging agent to fight Parkinson’s

A New York-based hospital system has gained Food and Drug Administration clearance for a new PET radiotracer to help diagnose Parkinson’s disease.

That approval was granted to the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, part of Northwell Health, to use Fluorodopa F-18 injections in patients with suspected Parkinson’s syndromes. If effective, the radiopharmaceutical may help track progression of the disease.

Thomas Chaly, PhD, was central in getting approval and says the radiotracer will help his team to better understand the nervous system disorder by visualizing dopaminergic nerve terminals in a cluster of neurons in the brain called the striatum.

“This FDA approval is the pinnacle of our venture to have a safe and effective imaging agent for the differential diagnosis of Parkinsonian syndromes,” Chaly, chief of Cyclotron/ Radiochemistry at Feinstein, said in a statement.

In Parkinson’s patients who experience a loss of dopamine-related neurons, uptake of the radiotracer will be lower and can be seen on a PET scan. Chaly also noted that the tracer may be able to help study the effectiveness and sustainability of brain tissue transplants some Parkinson’s patients choose to receive.