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Patient, Research and Industry Leaders Propose Biological Definition and First Biological Staging for Parkinson’s Disease

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New paper in The Lancet Neurology proposes the first iteration of a research framework for defining and staging Parkinson’s disease (PD) based on biology, rather than clinical symptomsThe framework defines PD based on the neuronal alpha-synuclein pathology that is a hallmark for the disease, building on the 2023 discovery of a biomarker that detects alpha-synuclein in living peopleBased on this new definition, the paper’s authors propose a staging system — the neuronal alpha-synuclein disease integrated staging system (NSD-ISS) — that promises to be a research accelerator by improving the development of new drugs across the disease continuum, enabling clinical trials for disease prevention and clarifying regulatory reviewNEW YORK, Jan. 23, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Today, an international working group has proposed a new research framework — the neuronal alpha-synuclein disease integrated staging system (NSD-ISS) —that, for the first time, stages Parkinson’s disease (PD) and defines it based on the disease’s underlying biology. The paper, published in The Lancet Neurology, describes the framework, its applications, gaps in knowledge and future plans. The NSD-ISS framework is considered a milestone for the field, and a critical starting point — as more data is developed, its concepts and definitions are expected to evolve.

The foundation of NSD-ISS defines Parkinson’s by the presence of its hallmark pathology, neuronal alpha-synuclein (asyn), that can now be detected by reliable biomarkers, often before symptoms appear. By applying an objective approach to detecting PD and standardizing its tracking on a biological continuum, NSD-ISS represents a major leap into the new and emerging biological era of Parkinson’s science. The new research framework stands to accelerate and increase the success of scientific discovery and therapeutic development at all stages of Parkinson’s. And ultimately, a treatment that targets the biology of the disease — rather than just its symptoms — is the way to reach a cure. (A similar biological framework in Alzheimer’s disease resulted in successful trials and new drug approvals, with the first drugs to slow Alzheimer’s-related cognitive decline appearing in 2022 and 2023.)
This landmark step forward was made possible by the breakthrough discovery of a test — validated in April 2023 by The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative — capable of detecting the earliest believed pathology of PD even prior to the onset of any visible symptoms. The test, known as the alpha-synuclein seed amplification assay (αSyn-SAA), detects dysfunctional alpha-synuclein protein, one of the two biological hallmarks of PD alongside dopaminergic transport dysfunction, which can be visualized later in the disease process in the brain using DaTScan. Together, these two hallmarks serve as the basis for the NSD-ISS staging system. Key details include:
The NSD-ISS integrates two core biomarkers: aggregated asyn (as currently detected by αSyn-SAA) and dopamine dysfunction (as currently measured by DaTScan dopamine transporter imaging in the brain).Stages one and two are based on these objective biomarkers, and stages three to six require these biomarkers and progressive motor and other nonmotor symptoms, such as REM sleep-behavior disorder, tremor, severe loss of smell, cognitive impairments and gait and balance problems.While disease occurs on a continuum and progression varies from person to person, defining discrete biological stages is critical to provide an objective framework for therapeutic development. Researchers are still investigating and refining the timeline for biological disease progression.”This new research framework promises to transform clinical trial design as we know it,” said Diane Stephenson, PhD, executive director, Critical Path for Parkinson’s Consortium, Critical Path Institute, and a coauthor on The Lancet Neurology paper. “This is how the field will meaningfully and tangibly achieve smarter and faster drug trials and treatments that can slow or halt disease progression, and perhaps one day, prevent the disease process from occurring altogether.”
Because the framework encompasses clinical syndromes for which dysfunctional asyn is the defining biological hallmark, it applies to — and stands to improve treatment for — both PD and dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB). The NSD-ISS unifies PD and DLB along the same continuum of progression based on a standardized biological diagnosis.
Framework Developed through Open Multistakeholder Collaboration There is widespread recognition that to achieve a paradigm shift in how PD is defined and staged, multiple diverse stakeholders need to come together and engage in open and transparent dialogue. As part of the effort, the framework’s international working group hosted a multistakeholder discussion to collect input on the concepts for NSD-ISS from people and families living with PD, neuroscience and clinical leaders, industry experts, federal research funders (i.e., the National Institutes of Health), disease-focused nonprofit organizations and regulatory authorities (i.e., the Food and Drug Administration). A draft manuscript also was posted online for public comment. The process — which engaged more than 550 individuals and organizations from six continents — resulted in a framework informed by collective community input.
“Inviting scientific discourse from a multitude of perspectives is a key principle and a shared value of every organization and individual in the working group effort,” said Sohini Chowdhury, The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s chief program officer and a coauthor on the paper. “This new research framework is the product of a diverse community of contributors, whose inputs have helped to align and harmonize this first meaningful step toward a shared tool for researchers and the biopharma industry.”
NSD-ISS Will Become a Research Accelerator for the Field The first iteration of the NSD-ISS framework is expected to play a transformative role in guiding development of therapies that affect disease progression by:
Stimulating new approaches to develop and test therapies targeting relevant biology across the disease continuum, which could lead to precision treatments for people at every stage of disease.Enabling clinical trials even prior to symptom onset though biomarker-based disease detection. These trials could ultimately lead to therapies that prevent the onset of clinical symptoms.Providing academic researchers, industry investigators and regulators a consistent and uniform definition for each disease stage so that molecular investigations and clinical trial outcomes can be objectively assessed, standardized and compared efficiently.”Our shared hope is that this new framework will foster innovation in clinical development, making trials more efficient and streamlining regulatory review. In short, the NSD-ISS is a research accelerator. And it is expected to evolve with accumulating scientific knowledge,” said Tanya Simuni, MD, lead author on the paper, professor of neurology and director of the Parkinson’s Disease Movement Disorders Center at Northwestern University. “The success that the Alzheimer’s field has had with its biological framework provides the inspiration and motivation to achieve similar accelerated timelines in Parkinson’s. Ten years from now, we hope we will look back and say this framework was the key that finally opened the door to next-generation treatments in Parkinson’s.”
As Simuni and her coauthors note in The Lancet Neurology paper, the framework offers an actionable proposal to researchers and industry creating a new path for efficient clinical trials, but at present, it is not intended for use in routine clinical care.
The paper includes acknowledgement that data supporting concepts of the NSD-ISS framework have emerged largely from the Foundation’s landmark PPMI study. Major funding for PPMI comes from Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP) (www.parkinsonsroadmap.org), a coordinated research initiative focused on accelerating the pace of discovery and informing the path to a cure for PD. ASAP support is enabling a seismic expansion of PPMI to increase recruitment efforts and remote testing for those at-risk for PD as well as expanding assay development efforts to enable breakthroughs such as the alpha-synuclein seed amplification assay. PPMI is additionally funded by a consortium of more than 40 biotech and pharmaceutical firms providing financial and in-kind support, and by tens of thousands of individual donors to The Michael J. Fox Foundation. Heralded as “the study that’s changing everything” about how Parkinson’s is diagnosed, managed and treated, PPMI and its data are made possible by the more than 2,000 in-clinic and 40,000 online research volunteers with and without Parkinson’s disease. 
“It’s still early, but this framework will have an immediate impact in terms of how we’re designing clinical protocols and optimizing research that can lead to better treatments that patients are waiting for,” said Peter DiBiaso, MHSA, a coauthor on the paper, a drug development professional, and member of MJFF’s Patient Council who was diagnosed with PD at 49. “We know there’s a lot of work to be done, but this is the most important first step the field can take together to rapidly advance breakthroughs for patients and families.”
About The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) As the world’s largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson’s disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson’s patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding $1.75 billion in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson’s research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; creates a robust open-access data set and biosample library to speed scientific breakthroughs and treatment with its landmark clinical study, PPMI; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson’s disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson’s awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world. For more information, visit us at www.michaeljfox.org, Facebook or Twitter.

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Sendbird Unveils Easy-to-Use AI Chatbot Tailored for Small Businesses

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SEOUL, South Korea, Feb. 28, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Sendbird, a leading communications platform for web and mobile apps, has launched its AI chatbot, designed for easy setup and tailored to help small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs)  in various customer-facing sectors like e-commerce and healthcare. This affordable, no-code solution aims to enhance customer engagement and support. Businesses can access an AI chatbot starter package offering features such as chatbot personas creation, knowledge enrichment, workflow integration, and performance tracking analytics, all without requiring technical skills.

Furthemore, Sendbird has unveiled a developer-centric Pro package, which simplifies mobile app integration and provides more workflows and function calls for third-party software connections. These connections empower the AI chatbot to expand its capabilities and improve the competitiveness. For instance, the AI chatbot can offer personalized recommendations for flights, accommodations, or products.
Sendbird’s no-code AI chatbot seamlessly integrates with Sendbird Desk, its in-app chat customer service solution, providing businesses with a unified sales or support desk. This integration boosts automated efficiency while maintaining a nuanced understanding of human support, leading to swifter, more accurate responses and increased customer satisfaction.
Built on a real-time communication platform trusted by industry leaders like Rakuten, Paytm, Traveloka, Carousell, PayPay, Yahoo, DoorDash, Krafton, Sendbird’s AI chatbot ensures seamless integration with both websites and mobile applications. This enables businesses to streamline support processes, save time, and allocate resources effectively, exceeding customer expectations.
Sendbird CEO and Co-founder John S. Kim emphasizes the importance of making AI accessible to SMBs, stating, “Today, large enterprises and consumer brands effectively use AI to engage with their customers. But there is no way for a small company to compete. What we aim to do with our no-code AI chatbot is to make that technology accessible to SMBs.”
To explore the benefits firsthand, businesses can access a free trial of Sendbird’s AI chat bot at sendbird.com/products/ai-chatbot. Additionally, to enhance superior customer support and engagement further, go to Sendbird Desk at sendbird.com/products/customer-support.
About Sendbird
Sendbird is the all-in-one communication platform empowering web and mobile applications with customizable user experiences. Sendbird’s cutting-edge APIs unlock the potential of AI-powered chatbots, one-way notification messages, chat, video calls and live streaming, tailored for use in commerce, marketing, and exceptional customer support. Trusted by industry leaders such as Rakuten, Paytm, Traveloka, Carousell, PayPay, Yahoo, DoorDash, and Krafton, Sendbird powers over 7 billion interactions monthly for over 4000+ applications worldwide.
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Vieworks Unveils Cutting-Edge X-ray Imaging Solutions at ECR 2024

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ANYANG, South Korea, Feb. 27, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Vieworks, a leading provider of medical and industrial X-ray imaging solutions, is gearing up to showcase its innovative lineup at the European Congress of Radiology (ECR) 2024, scheduled from February 28 to March 3 in Vienna, Austria. Vieworks will introduce a range of groundbreaking solutions including the VXvue software with AI diagnostic support for both human and veterinary applications, alongside X-ray flat panel detectors (Hall X3, Booth 324).

At the exhibition, Vieworks will unveil a total of 19 products, featuring 15 static and dynamic flat panel detectors accompanied by dedicated image acquisition software. Particularly noteworthy will be the introduction of the enhanced VXvue software integrated with AI diagnostic support solutions. 
Vieworks’ large-format and large-area detector products (VIVIX-S 1751S, VIVIX-S 4747V) are designed to optimize full-spine, half-body, and large-area imaging, offering static image detectors capable of capturing wider area images in a single scan compared to conventional models, thereby reducing patient radiation exposure. With advantages such as high resolution and swift image acquisition, these detectors enable more efficient diagnosis.
In addition to these innovations, Vieworks will showcase a variety of its flagship products, including FPDs for general radiography (VIVIX-S V, VIVIX-S F series), portable C-arms and fluoroscopy applications (VIVIX-D series), and digital detectors for breast examination (VIVIX-M series).
Developed in-house by Vieworks, VXvue is a user-centric image processing software designed to post-process clinical images acquired through X-ray detectors. With recent enhancements, VXvue can analyze X-ray clinical images of animals such as dogs and cats, providing abnormal findings related to musculoskeletal and thoracic diseases within 15 seconds. By offering post-processing of images along with information on the location of ailments and their probability, VXvue is poised to significantly improve the diagnostic process for veterinarians.
VXvue also offers advanced solutions for human application, incorporating the ‘PureImpact™’ technology, a high-performance image processing algorithm that enhances image clarity, and AI. This enables detailed depiction of soft tissue and skeletal structures with minimal radiation exposure.
A Vieworks spokesperson stated, “This year, we will continue to invest in innovative technologies such as AI to advance our product diversification and technological sophistication. Through these efforts, we aim to secure loyalty from our key customers in North America and Europe and expand our market share.”
ECR, regarded as one of the world’s largest congresses alongside the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), anticipates participation from over 240 companies representing 35 countries.
About Vieworks Co., Ltd.
As a global leader in digital imaging in various applications from medical x-ray imaging to industrial x-ray inspection, Vieworks offers the most advanced x-ray flat panel detectors and software as a solution to the world. Vieworks creates new standards in the imaging industry by providing professionals with the most valued and high-quality images and offering innovative vision and insight for all. For more information, please visit xrayimaging.vieworks.com.
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Geotab Brings Conversational AI to Connected Transportation Solutions at Mobile World Congress

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Demonstrates Geotab Ace with AI capabilities to interpret complex data with natural-language processing – a game-changer in connected vehicle transformationEnables fleets to make faster data-driven decisions based on safety, route planning, maintenance schedules, sustainability, and moreVisit us for the Geotab Ace demo on the Ontario Canada exhibition in Hall 7, 7G61, Kiosk 11 at MWC
BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 27, 2024 /CNW/ – Geotab Inc. (“Geotab”), a leading connected vehicle technology provider, will demonstrate its industry-first generative AI assistant for connected transportation, Geotab Ace, at Mobile World Congress. Geotab Ace is fueled by data-led AI processing capabilities analyzing more than 75 billion data points daily across global telecoms networks. Deeply integrated into MyGeotab, Geotab Ace instantly generates insights, while democratising and streamlining access to information to unlock new value from fleet data. 
Geotab Ace was launched earlier this month at Geotab Connect, with the first public demonstrations of the AI copilot being debuted at Mobile World Congress. Geotab Ace has access to an expansive array of insights, including predictive safety analytics, predictive maintenance, trip data, zone activity, electric vehicle statistics, exception events, GPS tracking, and more. This allows it to provide nuanced answers to a broad range of complex questions while remembering past interactions to improve future responses. Geotab Ace is built on privacy-by-design principles and keeps all customer telematics data within Geotab’s environment, never shared with any Large Language Model (LLM).
Enhancements to the user experience include tailored insights through intuitive dialogue with natural language processing – allowing organizations with fleets to extend on-demand insights in areas including safety, operations, maintenance, efficiency, and sustainability to assess the performance of their vehicles, assets, drivers, and more in simple, easy-to-understand terms.
Fleets can now significantly reduce the time taken to gain insights and access customized data reflections that are tailored to their specific needs, enhancing their capacity and expediency for making data-driven decisions.
“By bringing the intuitive simplicity of conversational AI directly into the Geotab platform, we are transforming the way fleets interact with their data, crafting a future where insights are immediate, intelligent, and instrumental to success,” said Edward Kulperger, Senior Vice President, Geotab EMEA. “It embodies our mission to simplify data analysis and unlock a world of trustworthy, insightful and actionable fleet intelligence.”
Geotab’s position as an industry trailblazer is reinforced by its 4 million globally connected vehicles, 50,000 customers across 160 countries, and an extensive telecoms carrier and partner network. This depth of expertise and global scale enables the company to develop unprecedented AI models, unlocking unmatched value and efficiency for fleets around the world.
Geotab Ace will be available to be experienced hands-on in the Ontario (Canada) Pavilion in Hall 7, 7G61, Kiosk 11 at Mobile World Congress from February 26 – 29, 2024.
To learn more about Geotab Ace, visit https://www.geotab.com/uk/ace/..
About GeotabGeotab is a global leader in connected transportation solutions. We provide telematics — vehicle and asset tracking — solutions to over 50,000 customers in 160 countries. For more than 20 years, we have invested in ground-breaking data research and innovation to enable partners and customers, including Fortune 500 and public sector organizations, to transform their fleets and operations. With over 4 million subscriptions and processing more than 75 billion data points a day, we help customers make better decisions, increase productivity, have safer fleets, and achieve their sustainability goals. Geotab’s open platform and Marketplace offers hundreds of third-party solution options. Backed by a team of industry-leading data scientists and AI experts, Geotab is unlocking the power of data to understand real-time and predictive analytics — solving for today’s challenges and tomorrow’s world. To learn more, visit www.geotab.com, follow @GEOTAB on Twitter and LinkedIn, or visit the Geotab Blog.

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