Amyloid imaging to prevent Alzheimer’s disease


Deposits of beta amyloid protein in the brain are a common sign of Alzheimer’s disease. AMYPAD will study the value of using positron emission tomography (PET) imaging to scan people’s brains for beta amyloid deposits. AMYPAD will carry out beta amyloid PET imaging on an unprecedented number of people who are suspected to be in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The goal is to determine the clinical added value of PET imaging in diagnosis and patient monitoring, and to develop data to establish its usefulness in clinical trials. AMYPAD will work closely with IMI’s EPAD project, which is working to increase our understanding of the early stages of dementia and creating a platform to test treatments designed to prevent dementia.

Achievements & News

Alzheimer’s: visual assessment of PET scans can reveal presence plus extent and location of amyloid

Deposits of beta amyloid protein in the brain are a common sign of Alzheimer’s disease. IMI’s AMYPAD project is studying the value of using positron emission tomography (PET) imaging to scan people’s brains for beta amyloid deposits. The ultimate aim is to get better at detecting Alzheimer’s early, as future therapies may be effective in treating the disease.###

Doctors can use [18F] Flutemetamol PET scans to spot the presence of amyloid in brain tissue, which helps to make a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Going further, however, researchers from AMYPAD wanted to know if a visual read can tell the evaluator more about where the amyloid is, and how much of it there is. The answer, according to the authors, is yes.

The research is published in the European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging. The next step will be to validate the results using data from the two ongoing AMYPAD clinical studies and also investigate the possible clinical value of the findings.

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PET scans that show brain changes caused by Alzheimer’s give doctors confidence in diagnosis

Being able to visualise the pathology linked to the disease is a big benefit for diagnosis and patient management. This is what physicians are telling researchers from IMI’s AMYPAD project, which is working to get definitive data on the role of amyloid PET (positron emission tomography) scans in Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.###

The ability to show patients the presence of amyloid plaque in the brain allows physicians to have ‘more meaningful’ conversations with their patients. Alzheimer’s disease is currently diagnosed based on cognitive symptoms, a clinical examination and a combination of brain scans such as CT or MRI which show structural abnormalities. Amyloid PET scans are a newer technology and researchers from the AMYPAD project are trying to understand in which circumstances these PET scans are best deployed. They also want to find out at what stage in the disease they are most beneficial, and how an early PET scan might lead to a change in patient management.

An ongoing clinical trial is examining how the PET scan influences the diagnosis of patients with cognitive complaints. ‘The hypothesis we are testing in the clinical study is that an early scan leads to a higher confidence in the diagnosis of the patient,' explains AMYPAD co-leader Gill Farrar of GE Healthcare. ‘Physicians involved in the trials are also finding that it is useful to use the images to show the patient the presence or absence of pathology in the brain.’

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EFPIA companies
  • Ge Healthcare Limited, Little Chalfont, United Kingdom
  • Janssen Pharmaceutica Nv, Beerse, Belgium
  • Life Molecular Imaging LTD, Havant, United Kingdom
Universities, research organisations, public bodies, non-profit groups
  • Centre Hospitalier Universitaire De Toulouse, Toulouse Cedex 09, France
  • Fundacio Barcelonabeta Brain Research Center, Barcelona, Spain
  • Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Klinikum Der Universitaet Zu Koeln, Cologne, Germany
  • Stichting Amsterdam Umc, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Stichting Radboud Universitair Medisch Centrum, Nijmegen, Netherlands
  • The University Of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Universite De Geneve, Genève 4, Switzerland
  • University College London, London, United Kingdom
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-sized companies (<€500 m turnover)
  • Ixico Technologies Limited, London, United Kingdom
  • Synapse Research Management Partners SL, Barcelona, Spain
Patient organisations
  • Alzheimer Europe, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Third parties
  • Region Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden

NameEU funding in €
Alzheimer Europe222 750
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire De Toulouse1 061 578
Fundacio Barcelonabeta Brain Research Center2 058 495
Ixico Technologies Limited1 196 136
Karolinska Institutet296 292
Klinikum Der Universitaet Zu Koeln605 357
Stichting Amsterdam Umc3 875 739
Stichting Radboud Universitair Medisch Centrum175 000
Synapse Research Management Partners SL491 090
The University Of Edinburgh568 590
University College London991 776
Third parties
NameFunding in €
Region Stockholm457 083
Total Cost11 999 886