Drug development for rare neurodegenerative diseases, such as FA, has been challenging and is limited by the lack of validated, sensitive biomarkers for disease progression. This has meant that currently there is no cure or disease modifying treatment to stop, or even slow down, progression of FA.
TRACK-FA is working to address this by bringing together experts from all over the world to form the TRACK-FA neuroimaging consortium. The study primarily seeks to discover neuroimaging biomarkers to track the progression of FA, and to ensure that these biomarkers are clinical trial-ready. The collaboration between academic and industry partners will provide the resources and expertise to enable us to realise this goal.
The TRACK-FA study spans a total of five years, with groups of FA and control individuals tested three times over the course of approximately two years. Testing involves neuroimaging of the spine and brain, as well as cognitive, mood and speech assessments, clinical tests, and collection of a blood sample. Assessment of these measures will allow us to determine which indicator (or biomarker) is the most sensitive to how the disease progresses. In this way, we will be ready to push the most promising biomarkers rapidly into clinical trials that use smaller sample sizes and shorter observational periods.
Ultimately, this means improved outcomes for people living with FA.