Diagnosing Alzheimer's with PET Imaging

Contributed by: Dennis Fortier, President, Medical Care Corporation

The Mayo Clinic has concluded its 2010 Medical Innovation Summit and released it's annual list of top Medical Innovations.

Coming in at number 1 on their Top 10 list is: New molecular imaging biomarker for early detection, prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Specifically, they are referring to AV-45, a radioactive agent developed by Avid Radiopharmaceuticals.

This science has been under development for quite some time and is expected to receive FDA approval in early 2011. The concept is to inject a tracer agent into the blood stream that will make it's way to the brain, bind with amyloid plaques, and light up in a PET scan. This will make the presence of amyloid in the brain more visible.

Since amyloid is a key pathological indicator (if not the cause) of Alzheimer's disease, gaining an understanding of amyloid load in the brain is useful in several regards. It can indicate the presence of AD pathology at an early stage, even before major cognitive deficits have emerged and could allow for earlier detection and timely intervention against this progressive disease process. It could be useful in measuring treatment effects which could accelerate clinical trials and bring better drugs to market more rapidly. And finally, it could potentially be used in identifying preventative agents that block or reverse the build-up of amyloid in the brain.

Similar technologies are also under development from GE and Bayer and will likely make important contributions in the global battle to thwart Alzheimer's disease in the coming decade.
A better understanding and more awareness of Alzheimer's related issues can impact personal health decisions and generate significant impact across a population of aging individuals. Please use the share buttons below to spread this educational message as widely as possible.

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