Home / News Briefs / New Molecular Imaging Agents in Study Using Advanced PET Brain Imaging Aim for Earlier Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s Detection and Treatment

New Molecular Imaging Agents in Study Using Advanced PET Brain Imaging Aim for Earlier Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s Detection and Treatment

The Philadelphia-area’s leading free-standing PET/CT center is the hub for research on earlier detection of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease using a new generation of molecular imaging agents and a high sensitivity, experimental research PET brain scanner to reveal amyloid plaque, which is a strong indicator of Alzheimer’s disease.  

“With earlier detection, we hope to dramatically improve patients’ lives through emerging, experimental treatments that, when applied earlier in the course of disease, may halt the progression of these diseases, and possibly reverse them,” explained Lee P. Adler, M.D., Medical Director and founder of the Adler Institute for Advanced Imaging, where this breakthrough research is taking place.  

Early diagnosis using molecular imaging is possible because of investigational radioactive “tracer” chemicals that bond inside the brain to markers for specific diseases (such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease), coupled with high tech scanners that produce 3-D images of these disease-specific diagnostics distributed within the brain.  

The Adler Institute for Advanced Imaging in Jenkintown is the hub for research combining these leading-edge technologies for diagnosis and monitoring Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. “At present there is no easy way to test for Alzheimer’s disease; accurate diagnosis generally does not occur until autopsy” Adler said. Adler is collaborating with West Philadelphia-based Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, Massachusetts-based PhotoDetection Systems (PDS), Meadowbrook Neurology Group in Montgomery County, and Wilmington, Delaware-based Radiologist Dr. Steven Edell of Edell Radiology Management, LLC. The team is using an advanced, dedicated brain PET (positron emission tomography) scanner developed by PDS and novel brain imaging PET tracers developed by Avid. Adler Imaging was selected by PDS and Avid because of Adler Imaging’s previous leadership role in Avid’s recent and ongoing clinical trials, as well as Dr. Adler’s reputation as a world leader in applying advanced instrumentation to the newly emerging field of molecular imaging.  

The Adler Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital are the only facilities that have the PDS NeuroPET, a new, dedicated brain PET system currently under development. Because its high sensitivity provides high quality brain scans using lower doses of radioactive agents, patients can undergo more frequent diagnostic scans to monitor response to therapy. Further, the Avid AV-45 imaging compound is designed to provide higher quality imaging results at lower radioactive doses. Working together, the investigators hope to someday allow the widespread application of PET imaging for neurology applications. These research experiments promise significantly better diagnostic results, deliver far less risk exposure, and will hopefully allow more widespread availability of PET imaging for neurological applications – just as the emergence of new, more highly targeted imaging agents for specific neurologic disorders greatly expands demand for PET imaging of the brain.  

“The PDS NeuroPET’s high sensitivity, compact design, and clinical research capabilities should allow brain imaging to be more widely available as companies such as Avid are developing a new generation of molecular imaging agents to target specific neurological diseases,” Adler said.

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