PAREXEL International has enhanced its central nervous system (CNS) capabilities for clinical development through the implementation of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology in its Early Phase units. This advanced imaging scanning measures hemodynamic response, or change in blood flow, related to neural activity in the brain or spinal cord. Through this approach, PAREXEL is able to provide sponsors with improved testing paradigms for cognitive biomarkers and better understand the impact of compounds earlier in disease progression.
PAREXEL is among the first to apply this technology broadly to multicenter trials with centralized imaging review processes to improve the quality, consistency and reproducibility of clinical data.
The research-enhanced fMRI technology provides greater speed, advanced image detail, and more scanning flexibility. Enabled with 3 Tesla (3T) power--a unit of measurement quantifying the strength of the magnetic field--PAREXEL can conduct scans to evaluate regions of interest with more anatomical detail, and detect smaller drug induced changes in brain function. With this capability, image quality is increased significantly, and image acquisition times are shortened. This technology allows PAREXEL to not only assess regions of activity but also functional connectivity among neurological networks. Additionally, early phase CNS experts can determine which regions are activated or deactivated by certain drug effects. This more sensitive measurement capability supports complex clinical studies focused on disease course modification techniques and improved symptomatic therapies earlier in the progression of an illness. The approach can be a sensitive pharmacodynamic tool to demonstrate proof of mechanism, especially when used in conjunction with other corroborative CNS biomarkers.