What Next for PET Imaging and Alzheimer's Diagnosis?

Contributed by: Dennis Fortier, President, Medical Care Corporation

Last week we noted here that Mayo Clinic had named certain bio-markers, specifically those agents that bind to amyloid plaques in the brain and become visible with a PET scan, as the most important medical innovation of the coming year.

Such bio-markers may help diagnose Alzheimer's disease with more certainty than current methods. However, many experts correctly point out that, down the road, cheaper and more practical tests based on blood or cerebral spinal fluid samples, might offer equal benefits in a more pragmatic approach. In fact, changing protein levels in the blood and spinal fluid are likely, according to current theories, to show changes prior to plaque formation in the brain and therefore, might offer even earlier diagnosis than PET scans.

Interestingly, Eli Lilly announced yesterday that they are acquiring Avid Radio Pharmaceuticals, the maker of the PET tracer agent that is likely to be the first to gain FDA approval in early 2011. Given an acquisition price of up to $800 million (depending on achievement of certain milestones), for a company with no sales, it is safe to say that big pharma is sold on the value of diagnosing Alzheimer's disease with PET imaging.

The benefits of using bio-markers and PET imaging to diagnose AD, to detect changes in the brain during research, and to evaluate the effect of drugs in clinical trial, are all positive steps in our collective battle to reign in this terrible disease. But I am looking forward to even bigger steps and better solutions that seem to be following closely behind this exciting advance.

Follow Brain Today on Twitter

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 button below to spread this educational message as widely as possible.

No comments :

Post a Comment