A diagnostic tool for Alzheimer’s disease

Normal brain versus Advanced Alzheimer's disease

On Tuesday, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published the approval of a radioactive compound, Amyvid, that can be helpful in early detection of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Avid logo[hana-code-insert name=’StumbleUpon’ /][hana-code-insert name=’Reddit’ /]Amyvid has been developed by Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Eli Lilly and Company in 2010, and will be used for Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging of the brain. It has the ability to get bind to the amyloid plaques in the brain, which are the abnormal clumps of brain cells. Amyloid plaques are found in the patients of AD and cognitive disorders as well as in other patients with normal cognition.

“Many Americans undergo evaluations to try to determine the cause for a decline in cognitive functioning,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.  “Until now, the brain content of β-amyloid neuritic plaques could only be determined with a brain biopsy or examination of the brain at autopsy.  This imaging agent is one tool to help physicians in the assessment of their patients by serving as an adjunct to other diagnostic evaluations.”

On PET scanning, the absence of plaques reduces the risk that the cognitive problems of the patients are due to AD but the presence of plaque does not necessarily mean the presence of AD.

“There are many concerns: that it could be overused in general, that it could be misused and there will be false diagnoses, both false positives and false negatives,” Michael Weiner, a neurologist at the University of California, San Francisco, and principal investigator of the AD Neuroimaging Initiative, said. “The medical community is going to have to develop its own standards for how to use it.”


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