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Novel radiotracer shines new light on the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients
Date:6/24/2010

of florbetapir, then received a PET scan of their brains. The brain scans, acquired over a 90-minute period, allowed the researchers to see the uptake of florbetapir in the brain over time.

Florbetapir had significantly heavier accumulation in the Alzheimer's patients' brains compared to the healthy volunteers, collecting in brain regions expected to be high in beta-amyloid deposits based on previous research. The results in AD patients were readily distinguishable from those of healthy subjects by 30 minutes after injection, and the differences continued for up to at least 90 minutes after injection of florbetapir. None of the AD patients or healthy volunteers suffered any ill effects from florbetapir and showed normal vital signs, electrocardiograms and blood-work after the scan.

"We could easily tell apart the two groups of patients. Those without Alzheimer's disease retained much less of the compound, and those with Alzheimer's disease retained much more of it," Wong says. "This is the first time we've been able to get results like this with a compound that can travel beyond the confines of a major academic medical center to the majority of the U.S. population."

Wong adds that florbetapir's portability could lead to numerous applications for this compound. For example, though Alzheimer's disease can usually be diagnosed from neurocognitive tests, imaging with florbetapir could help settle tricky cases in which patients might have other forms of dementia instead. The compound may also be useful in future studies designed to help solve current medical mysteries, such as which patients are most likely to progress from mild cognitive impairment to full-blown Alzheimer's disease.

Florbetapir may also be useful in trials of new experimental Alzheimer's therapeutics to measure their success, a purpose for which this compound is already being used on a limited basis, Wong says.


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Contact: Christen Brownlee
cbrownlee@jhmi.edu
410-955-7832
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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