Several major companies are all trying to create chemical agents that will detect Alzheimer’s disease through brain scans, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304159304575184073411439884.html?KEYWORDS=Alzheimer%27s
The trio includes multinational giants General Electric Co. and Bayer AG, as well as a small imaging company in Philadelphia, Avid Radiopharmaceuticals Inc.
Their research and development departments are all trying to create imaging compounds that will allow doctors to detect Alzheimer’s disease.
Right now the dreaded disease can only be definitely diagnosed by taking samples of the brain after a person has died and identifying substances called amyloid plaques. That plaque has been blamed for causing Alzheimer’s.
The new compounds being developed have radioactive markers attached, according to The Journal, and they bind with amyuloid plaques.
When the compound is injected into a patient, using scanning devices doctors will be able to see where the compound has adhered – the parts of the brain that take on color — and therefore where there is some Alzheimer’s-type plaque.
There is a good reason why GE, Bayer and Avid are all interested in treating Alzheimer’s disease. The global market last year was $8 billion, and it is projected to hit $10 billion by 2014, The Journal reported.
With the aging of the population, there is a growing need for better treatment for Alzheimer’s.
Today medications treat Alzheimer’s symptoms, like memory loss, they don’t stop its progression. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s now.
The hope for the imaging compounds is that they will make it easier to detect Alzheimer’s disease earlier on.