According to researchers the new drug on the anvil used to detect the presence of any signs of Alzeimer’s disease in the brain will help the doctors in early detection of the disease.
At present the possibility or presence of Alzheimer’s can be detected only by detecting beta-amyloid plaques present in the brain. This is done either ‘post mortem’ via an autopsy or, through a brain tissue biopsy.
With the new drug doctors will be able to detect amyloid plaques much earlier, while the patient is alive. The new drug – florbetaben, will be used as a tracing agent during the brain’s PET scan to detect the amyloid plaques.
The effectiveness of florbetaben was proven by comparing several brain PET scans directly with the corresponding affected brain regions in bodies during their autopsy.
This global phase III study involved more than 200 patients, some with confirmed dementia while others only suspected of the disease. All these patients had agreed to brain donation post their death. Each underwent both - florbetaben PET scan and MRI.
Out of the 200 patients, 186 had their brain regions analyzed and 31 reached autopsy. The amount of amyloid plaque found in these 31 was compared to the inputs from the scans as well as brain regions of 60 healthy volunteers.
According to the results, florbetaben was found to effectively detect amyloid plaque with 77 percent accuracy and 94 percent specificity. The visual assessment method showed a 100 percent sensitivity and 92 percent specificity for florbetaben.
Speaking on the findings, study author Marwan Sabbagh, MD, director of Banner Sun Health Research Institute in Sun City, Ariz, who is also, a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology; said:
"These results confirm that florbetaben is able to detect beta-amyloid plaques in the brain during life with great accuracy and is a suitable biomarker
"This is an easy, non-invasive way to assist an Alzheimer's diagnosis at an early stage. Also exciting is the possibility of using florbetaben as tool in future therapeutic clinical research studies where therapy goals focus on reducing levels of beta-amyloid in the brain,"