Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive degenerative disease which causes loss of neurons in the brain. It is the most frequent neurodegenerative disease affecting an estimated 44 million people worldwide and the number of people affected is expected to reach over 115 million by 2050. As the most common form of dementia, it affects 60-70% percent of people with dementia. The most common symptoms are the memory impairment, confusion, disorientation, difficulties with communication and everyday tasks. The symptoms appears only after a long period, up to 10-15 years. Unfortunately, there is no preventative or curative treatment for Alzheimer's disease but treatments to slow the worsening of symptoms are available and research continues.
One hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease is the accumulation of the β-amyloid peptide, which is due to the overproduction of β amyloid peptide and/or the failure of clearance mechanisms. In a healthy brain, these peptides are broken down and eliminated. This peptide represents an important therapeutic target for Alzheimer’s disease.
PET (Positron Emission Tomography) is a nuclear medicine neuroimaging tool, which allows for the visualization of the amyloid plaques in the brain. The recent advent of commercially available PET tracers for amyloid imaging has allowed this technique to reach more centres and a larger population, which has the potential to improve the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.
AMYPAD will use two β-amyloid PET imaging agents (tracers), which are called florbetaben and flutemetamol. As a commercial product, they are called NEURACEQ and VIZAMYL. A representative image of a PET scan using each of the tracers in both healthy volunteers and subjects with amyloid plaques is depicted below.
Legend: Neuraceq™ (left column) and Vizamyl™ (right column). Axial images.
Upper images depict amyloid negative scans, Lower images depict amyloid positive scans.