Stockholm, Sweden, June 3rd, 2009. BioArctic initiates collaboration with GE-Healthcare and Uppsala University on new diagnostics for Alzheimer´s disease. The intention is to create brain imaging markers (“tracers”) to monitor disease progression and to follow treatment effects in Alzheimer´s disease with positron emission tomography (PET). The project is partly funded by a grant from VINNOVA.
Alzheimer´s disease is a devastating neurodegenerative disease with an insidious onset and progressive loss of memory and cognition. The disorder is also manifested by behavioural disturbances, functional impairment and leads to earlier death. The disease is age-related and the number of patients doubles every five years of age, meaning that 30% of 85-year-old people are suffering from the disease. Alzheimer´s disease is a demographic time bomb. Today, an estimated 15 million people worldwide are affected by Alzheimer´s disease. By 2050, the number of Alzheimer patients has increased to 72 million.
Amyloid-beta (Abeta) plaques are one of the neuropathologic hallmarks of Alzheimer´s disease. Imaging of amyloid plaques in patients with Alzheimer´s disease using a radiolabelled PET-compound was first established at Uppsala University PET Centre (today GE Healthcare). Recent studies on Alzheimer´s disease have revealed that the neurotoxic species causing the disease are the soluble aggregates called Abeta protofibrils, which are the precursor forms to the plaques. Abeta protofibrils are believed to be a better target for monitoring disease progression and treatment effects.
Under the collaboration agreement antibody-based tracers against soluble and toxic Abeta forms will be developed and compared with existing and new small tracer molecules. BioArctic Neuroscience has developed monoclonal antibodies that can be used as imaging agents to visualize the toxic Abeta protofibrils in Alzheimer´s disease.