There is an urgent need for more effective ways to detect Alzheimer's disease
in its preclinical stage - before memory, confusion, and other cognitive problems appear. During this stage, while people appear symptom-free, abnormal proteins are already depositing throughout the brain.
Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed a chemical compound, named Fluselenamyl, that detects amyloid clumps better than current FDA-approved compounds. If a radioactive atom is incorporated into the compound, its location in a living brain can be monitored using positron emission tomography (PET) scans.
"Using this compound, I think we can reduce false negatives, potentially do a better job of identifying people in the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease and assess the effects of treatments.", study author Vijay Sharma said in a press release.
During the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, the team demonstrated that the compound bound to human amyloid beta proteins 2 to 10 times more effectively than three FDA-approved imaging agents!