Whitney Palmer

Healthcare. Politics. Family.

Amyloid Imaging: The Next Frontier in Alzheimer’s Care

Published on the May 9, 2012, DiagnosticImaging.com website

By Whitney L.J. Howell

With the FDA approval last month of the radioactive diagnostic agent florbetapir, the industry continued the trend toward improved identification of beta-amyloid, the brain plaque associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Questions still exist about how best to use these tracers, but industry experts view these developments as significant positives for patient care.

Having another tracer available to use when imaging patients with suspected Alzheimer’s will also benefit providers, said Satoshi Minoshima, MD, PhD, director of the Neuroimaging and Biotechnology Laboratory at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Negative amyloid brain scan. Courtesy: Siemens

“From an imaging point of view, Alzheimer’s and radioactive tracers that target amyloid will be one of the major research efforts over the next several years,” he said. “Therapeutically, now we can see amyloid deposition in the brain, and that will help drug companies develop more effective treatments and drugs.”

As a radioactive tracer, florbetapir binds to beta-amyloid plaque to make it visible through PET scans of the brain. Under the brand name Amyvid, it is the only FDA-approved imaging agent for amyloid plaque on the market, but it’s by no means the only one on the industry’s radar screen. Last year, GE’s flutemetamol entered Phase III clinical trials, and Pittsburgh compound B (PiB) has been used in Alzheimer’s research since 2002.

It’s this growing list of radioactive tracers that has the Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM) anticipating the industry will make a greater clinical impact with Alzheimer’s, as well as other conditions. Making molecular imaging agents more readily available could open doors for more clinical research and clinical trials.

Positive amyloid brain scan. Courtesy: Siemens

“We are hopeful that this will set the stage for the approval of the many other molecular imaging agents for cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other neurological diseases that are currently in clinical trials,” SNM president George Segall, MD, said in a statement. “The more molecular imaging agents available, the more options we have for diagnosing illness and ultimately enhancing patient care.”

And, that’s what one vendor has tried to do. In April, Siemens rolled out a first-of-its-kind integrated PET diagnostic imaging system that can detect beta-amyloid in the living brain. The PET system, currently under FDA review, includes the new Biograph mCT™ PET•CT scanner, syngo.PET Amyloid Plaque neurology quantification software, and florbetapir.

To read the remainder of the article at its original location: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/nuclear/content/article/113619/2070275


May 10, 2012 Posted by | Healthcare, Science | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Imaging Agent Being Tested for Early Detection of Alzheimer’s

Published on the July 25, 2011, DiagnosticImaging.com

By Whitney L.J. Howell

A new imaging agent currently in Phase III clinical trials could soon make it possible for more radiologists to see beta-amyloid — the brain plaque associated with suspected Alzheimer’s disease — through PET scans.

According to David Wolk, MD, University of Pittsburgh neurology professor, flutemetamol, a tracer molecule associated with the isotope Fluorin-18, brings the same benefit to real-time patient care that Pittsburgh B-Compound (PiB) can only bring to neurological investigations.

“Because of the PiB compound’s 20-minute half-life, it’s really only played an active role in research. It degrades so quickly that it’s not practical to use with patients in the real world — only tertiary care centers have the machinery to make PiB onsite,” said Wolk, who presented his research on flutemetamol in living patients at the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease in Paris last week.

“With a nearly two-hour half-life, you can have flutemetamol manufactured elsewhere and delivered to you for medical scans.”

To read the article in its entirety: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/pet-mr/content/article/113619/1913011

July 25, 2011 Posted by | Healthcare, Science | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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