One Step Closer to a Perfect Diagnostic Tool for Alzheimer’s Disease
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Amyvid, a compound developed by Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Eli Lilly and Company in 2010, and can be used for evaluating people with cognitive impairment for Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Amyvid binds to amyloid plaques, which are considered as one of the biomarkers for AD, in the brain. Amyloid protein is a type of protein that is formed in patients of AD and some other cognitive disorders. Amyvid can be of help in detection of amyloid plaques in the brain before a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan of the brain. The absence of the plaque decreases the chances that the patient’s cognitive problems are due to AD. However, the presence of the plaque in the brain does not necessarily assure the presence of AD.
“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.”
Michael Weiner, a neurologist at the University of California, San Francisco, and principal investigator of the AD Neuroimaging Initiative, said that Amyvid is in use in research including clinical trials for a long time. He said that it can become much more useful on combining it with other diagnostic tools.
“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," Weiner said. "The medical community is going to have to develop its own standards for how to use it."
Whether this radioactive compound fully works or not but it is a good news for all of us. We are now one step closer to get a perfect diagnostic tool for AD, which is one of the most common diseases in old ages.