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Russian and Swedish scientists reveal the best way to diagnose Alzheimer’s

Researchers from Russia and Sweden have uncovered a tracer for positron-emission tomography (PET), which is best suitable for diagnosing mutations connected with Alzheimer’s dementia. The study’s results will be helpful in pinpointing a diagnosis.
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The scientific team composed of researchers from several Swedish institutions and the SFU developed an approach for evaluating the efficiency of different radiopharmacology tracers used in positron-emission tomography (PET) when identifying Alzheimer’s with different types of genetic mutations.

PET is a method of examining tissues in the human body. The topographer detects the radiation emission from marked molecules in the tissues and organs examined. For tracing molecules, radiopharmacological drugs containing radioisotopes are used. PET is widely employed for diagnosing various diseases, for example, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.

Currently, Alzheimer’s is the most prevalent neurodegenerative disease. A cure for this sickness has so far not been found. As the number of senior citizens worldwide is steadily on the rise, this illness poses a severe challenge to public health institutions and society at large. Cases of Alzheimer’s appearing at a relatively early age (before 60 years) are connected with autosomal-dominant (familial) mutations. These mutations cause changes in the brain leading to the onset of the disease. These changes are essential for the diagnostic process as they can be seen with PET when special radiopharmacological agents — that is the tracers — are introduced.

The researchers assessed the efficiency of the diagnostics of different tracers currently used in medicine. With this in mind, the tests of efficiency were carried out with various types of mutations. As a result, only one agent, Florbetapir (18F), was shown to be efficient.

The study’s authors feel that their results are of practical importance when radiopharmacological agents are needed to be chosen for PET-diagnostics in detecting Alzheimer’s. Additionally, the search for new tracers suitable for the analysis will be facilitated.

The results of the study have been published in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.

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