NVL1 for Diagnosing PTSD

We are developing an objective detection mechanism for PTSD. To this end we have designed a GluA1 biomarker measurement process in the amygdala using radiation imaging technology with a novel tracer. Our first patent-pending tracer, NVL-1, was developed in mid-2017. Optimization, pre-clinical validation, and additional development are underway.

Currently, PTSD is diagnosed with checklists after symptoms have manifested. The checklist method (using either the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM (SCID) – PTSD Module, or the Clinical Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS)/Life Events Checklist) is subjective. Furthermore, the reliance on self-report and self-assessment leads to both under-diagnosis and mis-diagnosis.

By definition, the conventional PTSD diagnosis requires manifestation of symptoms. The diagnostic criteria (DSM-V) include Exposure to a traumatic stressor (criterion A), reexperiencing, avoidance/numbing, and hyperarousal symptoms (criteria B through D), duration of at least one month (criterion E), and clinically significant distress or impairment in social/occupational functioning (criterion F). American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

We aim to diagnose PTSD far sooner based upon the GluA1 biomarker. This protein will provide an objective indication of PTSD in a patient, irrespective of manifestation of symptoms, and can be used as an enrollment tool for future treatment studies.

Our diagnostic tracer has potential applications beyond PTSD for use with other GluA1-implicated disorders, such as ALS, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s.