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12:00 AM
 | 
Jan 01, 2007
 |  BioCentury  |  Tools & Techniques

Demarcating Alzheimer's

While doctors still rely largely on family history and neuropsychological testing to identify patients with Alzheimer's disease, a new wave of methods are being developed with the potential to diagnose the disease cheaper, faster and - most importantly - earlier.

Beta amyloid, in particular, has received attention as a possible surrogate marker because of its deposition into the insoluble plaques that are a hallmark of AD.

Last month, two groups announced milestones in the development of imaging technologies based on beta amyloid: GE Healthcare (Chalfont St. Giles, U.K.) and its academic partners started a human trial of a radiolabeled imaging agent, and Neuroptix Corp. (Acton, Mass.) signed a deal with Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK, Whitehouse Station, N.J.) to explore the diagnostic utility of measuring beta amyloid in the eye.

Meanwhile, a third group published a study describing an imaging technology that relies on another hallmark of AD, the neurofibrillary tangles that are believed to be caused by tau protein aggregation.

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