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Sultan Darvesh: Revolutionary researcher
Dr. Darvesh, a professor with the Division of Neurology, the Department of Medicine and the Department of Medical Neuroscience at Dalhousie, is on the verge of a significant breakthrough in combatting a disease that affects approximately 35 million people worldwide.
Working with a team of researchers, he has developed a small radioactive molecule that can positively identify butyrylcholinesterase, an enzyme that plays a key role in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, in PET and SPECT scans. It could, he says, enable a definitive diagnosis of the disease in living patients, something that has never been possible before.
“To experience that kind of deterioration and not quite know what’s going on really turns people’s lives upside down,” Dr. Darvesh says. “There are many issues to deal with from safety to day-to-day care. If we can provide patients and families with a diagnosis and education about the impacts of the disease, we can help them cope.”
To date, Dr. Darvesh and his team have been able to demonstrate proof of principle for the radioactive molecule using mouse models to image the accumulation of butyrylcholinesterase-associated Alzheimer’s disease pathology in the brain. Now, Dr. Darvesh is working to refine the molecule so that it can eventually undergo clinical trials.
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