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New molecular imaging agent

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).

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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 Christopher Rowe from Austin Hospital of Melbourne 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.

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