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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.
Fabio O. Bernardini's profile photoEamonn O Raghallaigh's profile photoBrian Gauspohl's profile photoMarc Lawrence's profile photo
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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