New molecular imaging agent identifies Alzheimer’s disease
24 April 2007
Philadelphia, USA. A clinical study of 18F-AV-1/ZK
(AV-1), a novel radiopharmaceutical for positron emission tomography (PET)
imaging of amyloid plaques in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), has
shown that it distinguishes AD sufferers from healthy elderly subjects.
The result of the first clinical study of the compound was announced by
manufacturer Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, Inc. (Avid) and the findings were
presented by Principal investigator Dr. Christopher Rowe from Austin
Hospital of Melbourne at the 8th International Conference on AD/PD in
Salzburg, Austria in March.
The goal of this first clinical study was to
examine whether PET imaging with AV-1 could be used to distinguish patients
with Alzheimer’s disease from those with normal cognitive function. AV-1
binds avidly to β-amyloid, the chief constituent of amyloid plaques, which
accumulates abnormally in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Rowe reported that PET imaging with AV-1 clearly distinguishes AD from
healthy elderly subjects, and may be used to quantify amyloid burden. AV-1
PET scans showed high levels of signal in the Alzheimer’s patients,
particularly in areas of the brain known to contain amyloid plaques. In
contrast there was no retention of AV-1 in the cerebellar cortex, an area
where amyloid plaques do not accumulate.
This is the first scientific report of a clinical trial with an 18F-compound
designed for specifically imaging amyloid plaques in AD. The wide
availability of 18F allows for the possibility of amyloid imaging at a large
number of clinical sites worldwide.
“We are extremely encouraged by the results of this clinical study with
Avid’s first compound, AV-1. These data have provided the rationale for
Avid’s next generation compounds for amyloid imaging, which are now in
clinical trials in the United States,” said Daniel Skovronsky, MD, PhD, CEO
AV-1 is one of a series of novel compounds discovered in the laboratory of
Dr. Hank Kung from the University of Pennsylvania and exclusively licensed
to Avid for development and commercialization. The results presented
represent a collaborative effort between scientists at Austin Health, the
University of Melbourne, Neuroscience Victoria, Avid Radiopharmaceuticals,
the University of Pennsylvania, and Bayer Schering Pharma.
New treatment methods for slowing or reversing the deposition of insoluble
amyloid in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease are the subject of
intensive clinical research by many large pharmaceutical companies as well
as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) (
www.nimh.nih.gov/studies/1alzhdis.cfm ). Amyloid imaging may help in
identifying those patients who will benefit from these emerging treatments.