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A New method Detects Alzheimer Earlier

A New method Detects Alzheimer Earlier

(ePharmaNews)- Loss of memory, social isolation and difficulty in managing everyday activities, that is almost everything doctors have nowadays in order to suspect Alzheimer's disease, while confirming the diagnosis can only be done by a post-mortem autopsy. However, a new study reveals a possibility to diagnose Alzheimer's early in life and eliminates the need for tissue biopsies!

The results of this study will be presented as a part of the Emerging Science program (formerly known as Late-Breaking Science) at the American Academy of Neurology’s 64th Annual Meeting in New Orleans April 21 to April 28, 2012. The study indicates that one of the drugs used in radioactive imagine, namely PET-Scan, can be used to detect Alzheimer's early in life.

Currently, Alzheimer’s disease can only be definitively confirmed through the detection of amyloid plaques in the brain during autopsy after death or with a brain tissue biopsy. The new method uses the drug florbetaben as a tracer during a PET scan of the brain to visualize amyloid plaques during life.

In order to prove that the florbetaben PET scan detects beta-amyloid in the brain, the study included 200 dying patients who agreed on volunteering their brains after death, they were scanned with MRI and PET-Scan, and the results were compared to the tissue diagnosis.

The study confirmed that Florbetaban was capable of revealing the presence of Amyloid plaques in the majority of Alzheimer's patients with an accuracy that was close to 100%, which had been considered impossible without biopsying the brain.

These results confirm that florbetaben is able to detect beta-amyloid plaques in the brain during life with great accuracy and is a suitable biomarker,” said study author Marwan Sabbagh, MD, director of Banner Sun Health Research Institute in Sun City, Ariz.

When asked if early detection has an impact of over-all prognosis, Dr.Sabbagh told ePharmaNews by email:" The answer is likely yes. Currently, there is a lot of uncertainty in making a diagnosis of AD which delays in establishing a diagnosis. In turn, there is a delay in treatment. Earlier treatment might delay complications such as behavioral problems, placement in long term care, and loss of independence."

More importantly, Dr.Saabagh also mentioned a therapeutic benefit of Florbetaban:  "Also exciting is the possibility of using florbetaben as tool in future therapeutic clinical research studies where therapy goals focus on reducing levels of beta-amyloid in the brain"

The imaging studies used by this drug may help physicians to monitor the effect of different Anti-Alzheimer's medications. "Florebetaben itself could be used as part of the diagnostic evaluation in clinical practice. In clinical trials, PET might be employed to measure whether drugs reduce amyloid burden and florbetaben would be a radiocontrast agent in that manner. In other words, as part of the clinical trial, it might be important to determine if the study drug reduced amyloid burden in the brain as measured by florbetaben"  He concluded.

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Prepared by: Laila Nour

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