Milestone in imaging of Alzheimer’s disease
8 December 2006
Chicago, USA. A key milestone in the imaging of
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) has been reached through a close collaboration
between radiochemists from the University of Pittsburgh and GE Healthcare.
The University of Pittsburgh has started a study aimed at obtaining
preliminary information on the performance of flourine-18 labelled
Pittsburgh Compound B (F-18 PiB) to identify amyloid deposits in subjects
with a diagnosis of AD.
Chet Mathis, Professor Of Radiology, University of Pittsburgh School of
Medicine and director of the PET Facility at UPMC reports, "Early results
are encouraging and we look forward to the larger multi-site trials that GE
Healthcare will perform with F-18 PiB in early 2007."
The imaging of brain
amyloid by carbon-11 PiB has been judged by Nature Medicine (Vol 12: 7,
p767, 2006) to be one of the most significant advances in the field of AD in
recent years. Multiple sites have now replicated the landmark studies
reported by Klunk et al in Annals of Neurology in 2004. More recently the
U.S.-based Alzheimer’s Association and GE Healthcare have funded a C-11 PIB
add-on study to the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, a $60M
study to determine the value of brain imaging.
Although C-11 PiB can be
used for academic studies, the 20-minute half-life of C-11 and limited
manufacturing access means the molecule is not suitable for widespread use
as a routine diagnostic agent. F-18, with a half-life of 110 minutes, offers
a much better opportunity for manufacturing and distribution.
In 2003, GE
Healthcare licensed a number of compounds from the University of Pittsburgh.
Proof-of-concept studies have already been performed in collaboration with
GE Healthcare’s IMANET organization, leading to the selection of the lead
candidate for further research. Subsequent work has focused on producing the
F-18 PiB material to the quality standards necessary for clinical trial use.
Don Black, Head of R&D, Medical Diagnostics commented, "Good progress is
being made with the set up of the PET centres for the forthcoming trial.
Recent news from the University of Pittsburgh about the first subjects
injected with F-18 PIB is cause for optimism in the potential use of this
agent as a future tool for both diagnosis and therapy monitoring."
Gallagher, the newly appointed Head of External Affairs, R&D, Medical
Diagnostics also remarked, "These are exciting times in the field of
Alzheimer’s Disease. The advent of amyloid imaging agents and the wealth of
pharma programmes in the area of amyloid targeted therapies, have given real
hope that significant progress, in the notoriously slow field of dementia,
can be made in the next decade.”