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Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lily just got FDA approval on a chemical that would enable clinicians to detect a biological marker for Alzheimer’s disease. They can detect the marker now, but currently quantifying it can only be performed during autopsy. Detecting it early, during a person’s lifetime has the potential to not only identify people at risk for Alzheimer’s before they show symptoms, but it could help researchers searching for a cure.
The chemical, called florbetapir or its brand name Amyvid, binds to the protein, beta-amyloid, thought to be a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. The drug, which is radioactive, is injected into patients which are then imaged with a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan that detects the radioactive signal. A positive scan means there are at least a moderate amount of amyloid plaques, the aggregates of amyloid protein thought to disrupt neuronal function and lead to cognitive decline and dementia associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
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Fabio O. Bernardini's profile photoEamonn O Raghallaigh's profile photoBrian Gauspohl's profile photoMarc Lawrence's profile photo
3 comments
 
It's too bad the headline is so misleading. "Detect a biological marker" =/= "diagnose".
 
To bad they can't do much about the disease other than tell you that you have it.
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