(DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING, Greg Freiherr) --
Fluorine-18 unlocks door to Alzheimer’s diagnosis
An intractable foe of what makes people what they are suddenly seems vulnerable, and it is imaging that has struck the blow. In a clinical trial at Johns Hopkins University, a PET agent built around fluorine-18 readily and safely distinguished the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients from those of healthy volunteers. And the Johns Hopkins researchers are not alone. Several pharma companies, big and small, are on the same track.
Earlier this week, The New York Times reported validation that a PET agent developed by a small start-up company in Pennsylvania could light up plaques in the brains of patients with memory problems, allowing a definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. With such an agent, the NYT reported, it would be possible to determine whether drugs now being developed are slowing or halting the disease process. The results are expected to be presented at an international meeting of the Alzheimer’s Association in Honolulu on July 11. They are especially noteworthy in that they correlate pathological data obtained at autopsy with scan data obtained when the patients were alive.
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