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Markers in Blood and Spinal Fluid, and a New Imaging Agent, Show Promise for Early Detection of Alzheimer's
Date:7/29/2008

r's. The additional candidates were abnormal brain proteins total tau and phosphorylated tau measured in CSF, and baseline performance on a large neuropsychological testing battery. Fifteen (15) MCI subjects converted to Alzheimer's after a mean follow-up interval of 2.3 years. Analysis showed that BACE1 protein levels and ApoE genotype (a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's) were the strongest predictors of conversion to Alzheimer's, after controlling for age and gender. The classification accuracy was 78%, the sensitivity was 80%, and the specificity was 77% for the combined model.

"These important findings pave the way for further rigorous assessment of BACE1 as an effective and accurate clinical diagnostic tool, which could significantly improve risk assessment and early detection of Alzheimer's," Hampel said. "We believe that BACE1 will be an excellent outcome biomarker to look at in ongoing clinical trials of anti-amyloid, disease modifying therapies. Furthermore, we are working on a blood-based diagnostic test for BACE1 as well."

Improved Amyloid Imaging Agents for PET in Development

A major recent advance in Alzheimer's is the ability to create images of amyloid in the brains of living people using positron emission tomography (PET) scanners. With PET, a radioactive compound, or tracer, is injected into the person to be scanned. The tracer attaches to a target substance in the body, in this case amyloid, which then "lights up" on the image captured by the scanner.

In research reported at ICAD 2008, Michael J. Pontecorvo, PhD, of Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, Philadelphia, PA, and colleagues reported the development of a novel 18F-labeled PET amyloid imaging agent, 18F-AV-45, that may eventually provide a practical approach for routine brain imaging for Alzheimer's

PET scanners are relatively common - they are available in most hospitals - yet one of the challenges to more widespread use of PET imaging in Alzheimer's is that th
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SOURCE Alzheimer's Association
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