Q&A: Alzheimer's Disease and Amyloid PET Imaging

June 1, 2015

In April, the ACR and the Alzheimer’s Association announced a four-year, $100 million research study to determine the clinical value of brain amyloid PET in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

The Imaging Dementia—Evidence for Amyloid Scanning (IDEAS) study is an effort to prove to CMS that PET amyloid imaging can lead to improved health outcomes, and therefore warrants coverage.

Diagnostic Imaging spoke with a member of the IDEAS leadership team, Barry A. Siegel, MD, of Washington University, about why this study is important.

What’s the history of amyloid PET imaging?

Amyloid imaging agents have been around for a number of years with a large amount of the research to date using carbon 11 compounds’ the one that’s been most widely used is referred to as Pittsburgh Compound B or PIB. PIB has been comprehensively studied at many institutions around the country that have compared the amount of amyloid in the brain in people of various ages. They looked at its build-up as a function of age and compared it across different disease states. They have looked at patients who were amyloid positive and followed them over time to see whether they develop typical clinical patterns of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). So amyloid imaging has been well established as a robust biomarker of the presence of abnormal amyloid deposition in the brain, which is one of the key pathologic features of AD.

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