Molecule That Binds to Tau and Works as Tracer Might Help to Diagnose and Treat Alzheimer’s, Study Reports

A newly identified "tracer" molecule that binds to and "lights up" aggregates of tau — a protein linked to Alzheimer's disease and related dementias – showed promise as a way to diagnose Alzheimer's and measure the effectiveness of treatment in patients, researchers reported. The study, “First in‐human PET study of 3 novel tau radiopharmaceuticals: [11C]RO6924963, [11C]RO6931643, and [18F]RO6958948,” was published in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine. Alzheimer's disease is characterized by the presence of abnormal protein aggregates — amyloid plaques and tau tangles — in the brain. A hurdle in diagnosing Alzheimer's disease has been the inability to examine the real-time generation of these aggregates in the brains of living patients. “One of the greatest public health challenges is Alzheimer's disease, for which there currently is no cure and no definitive diagnostic until autopsy,” Dean Wong, MD, PhD, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and lead author of the research article, said in a press release. “We have been working hard to identify new radiopharmaceuticals that can help speed the discoveries of diagnostics and treatments for these devastating neurodegenerative disorders.” Researchers investigated the capacity of a novel tracer to identify tau aggregates in patients' brains using positron emission tomography (PET), a medical imaging technique that is used to observe metabolic processes in the body as a diagnos
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