Food for Thought: Finally, a Test for Alzheimer’s?

If the story by a small, Philadelphia-based company called Avid Radiopharmaceuticals communicated earlier this month holds up, there will be a reliable diagnostic test for Alzheimer’s disease available in a few years.

Such a test not only would change diagnosis but also help develop novel Alzheimer treatments as it would enable clinical researchers to check whether a drug candidate is making a difference in terms of plaque formation or reduction. At present, the only definite diagnosis of Alzheimer is by brain autopsy.

The company presented interim data  of a Phase III study of patients with a life expectancy of less than 6 months, in which the results of  a brain scan using florbetapir, a novel radiolabeled compound that specifically and sensitively binds β-amyloid, were compared to the autopsy results obtained after the patients’ death. The data were presented at the 2010 Annual Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM) meeting in Salt Lake City. According to the abstract, the florbetapir PET brain images  are highly correlated with autopsy-confirmed β-amyloid deposition in the brain.

According to the New York Times, the company will present final data of 35 patients during next month’s ICAD, the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease 2010 in Honolulu, Hawaii.