Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by the accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain’s ventricles. NPH causes prominent cognitive and motor symptoms and eventually leads to dementia. NPH is often misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases as symptoms overlap and methods for accurate diagnosis are missing. Unlike other neurodegenerative diseases, NPH can be treated by brain surgery and implantation of a shunt, which removes excess of cerebrospinal fluid from the ventricles. However, because of the challenge of correctly diagnosing the disease, less than half of the patients undergoing brain surgery experience benefits.
The goal of this project is to identify molecular biomarkers for NPH diagnosis and the prediction of shunt surgery benefits. The project's multidisciplinary team has undertaken a holistic approach that leverages state-of-the-art molecular biology tools and data science approaches to determine the molecular mechanisms underlying NPH symptoms and disease progression. By integrating data from multi-omics platforms, the researchers aim to develop a rapid, accurate and cost-effective diagnostic test.
This project is supported by a Carney Innovation Award and a seed award from Brown's Office of the Vice President for Research. The team has also launched Adelle Diagnostics, Inc., a Brown University-affiliated start-up, to undertake the commercialization of the diagnostic test.