Llama Antibodies May Work to Visualize Brain Changes in Alzheimer’s Patients

Llama Antibodies May Work to Visualize Brain Changes in Alzheimer’s Patients
Antibodies extracted from llamas can visualize amyloid-beta plaque and tau deposits in the brains of live animals — a finding that may lead to a way to track Alzheimer’s disease-related brain changes in people before symptoms appear. The antibodies were shown to work in mice, but researchers have been unable to visualize their presence in the human brain, and are working to develop a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system that can be used with the antibodies. The study, “Camelid single-domain antibodies: A versatile tool for in vivo imaging of extracellular and intracellular brain targets,” appeared in the Journal of Controlled Release. Detecting changes in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients is important for more than just a correct diagnosis. Many treatments are now being developed to prevent further decline in patients in the earliest disease stages, and physicians need to know as early as possible which patients are in need of interventions. But the brain is guarded by a layer of cells that is impenetrable to most molecules, making the task of visualizing a certain protein in the brain difficult. In a large collaboration involving the French research institutions Institut Pasteur, Inserm,CNRSCEA, and the Pierre & Marie Curie and Paris Descartes universities, as well as the
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