Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia mainly affecting people over the age of 60. More than 26 million people suffer from this neurodegenerative disease worldwide today, and a further increase is expected to pass 100 million patients by 2050 (journal "Alzheimer's & Dementia“).
Although there is currently no cure for the disease, early treatment of the symptoms, combined with the right care and support, could improve the quality of life of people living with Alzheimer's disease. For sufferers, therefore, advanced imaging techniques and the related prospect of early diagnosis could lead to significant improvements.
Although present-day treatments can only alleviate the symptoms, and not the underlying causes, there is growing evidence to suggest that Alzheimer's patients benefit most when treatment begins at an early stage of the disease. Researchers and physicians expect even more progress from the effective use of drugs, and promising candidates are already being clinically investigated. Novel early-detection techniques might give a boost to the development of corresponding anti-Alzheimer's drugs.
The disease often goes unrecognized or is misdiagnosed Even in the early stages of the disease, beta-amyloid already accumulates in the brain and forms what are known as amyloid plaques. However, detection of these protein deposits, and thus a definite diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, is currently not possible until only after the patient's death.
Piramal Healthcare, Imaging Division, is working on the development of novel tracers to support the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. The successful development of new substances in this field would represent an important step toward an earlier and more accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.
Florbetaben is our most advanced imaging agent. This [F-18]-labeled molecular imaging agent detects ß-amyloid, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer´s disease.
Florbetaben was investigated in more than thousand patients on four continents in ten countries in more than forty hospitals.
For more scientific details see:
Rowe et al., Lancet Neurol. 2008 Feb;7(2):129-35, Barthel et al., Lancet Neurol. 2011 May;10(5):424-35
Images courtesy Prof. Sabri, Universiy Hospital Leipzig, Germany