June 19, 2000 — The race is on to bring new therapies for Alzheimer’s infection to the market, and the center is on drugs that target the waxy plaque buildup thought to cause the brain to break down. Analysts foresee that within five years, one or more of these drugs will be accessible, but so far, no good methodology exists to screen how well they work.

“Alzheimer’s investigate is moving so fast, it is really very exciting,” Lee tells WebMD. “Within the following three years or so, compounds pointed at plaque development may be available for use in Alzheimer’s patients, and it is amazingly vital that we have something to screen the [effectiveness] of these drugs.”

He says an imaging strategy that creates these problem plaques obvious would allow researchers to see if there’s a interface between abating the memory decline related with Alzheimer’s and clearing plaque from the brain. But the issue is, no such procedure exists.

While it is possible to measure plaque build up in Alzheimer’s patients after they die, there is currently no way to measure it before death. Being able to do so could have a major impact on the diagnosis of the malady, as well as the assessment of treatments to treat it, since, for the primary time, patients with Alzheimer’s may be identified and treated some time recently symptoms advance.

But researchers at the College of Pennsylvania offer hope that they will soon be able to evaluate this plaque buildup in living Alzheimer’s patients.

Within the June 20 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Virginia Lee, MD, and colleagues report using an injectable substance that crosses the blood-brain obstruction and sticks particularly to these problem plaques in mice brains. Finding a substance that sticks to these plaques is the first step toward planning an imaging technique for seeing the plaques while Alzheimer’s patients are still lively.

Finding an imaging procedure to assess plaque formation in living patients is critically vital to monitoring the usefulness of therapies aimed at plaque hindrance, says Marcell Morrison-Bogorad, PhD, associate director of neuroscience and neuropsychology of maturing at the NIH’s National Institute of Aging. “We do not yet know on the off chance that diminishing [this plaque] in the brain will affect cognition, but an imaging procedure will help us decide this,” he says. The organized given the major financing for the consider.

The presumption that decreasing levels of the issue plaque in the brain will slow or avoid the brain’s deterioration “has really been the major thrust of Alzheimer’s inquire about over the past few years,” Morrison-Bogorad tells WebMD. Within the following few a long time, researchers will know whether this suspicion is genuine and “whether any of these potential therapies can actually work without harming the brain in a few way that’s, as yet, not caught on,” he says.

An official with the Alzheimer’s Affiliation says such a strategy will revolutionize diagnosis and checking of the infection, but it is too early to tell whether this specific approach will work. Charge Thies, PhD, bad habit president of restorative and logical affairs for the association, tells WebMD that there is still no agreement on which inquire about offers the foremost guarantee.

“The imaging test of choice nowadays can be chopped liver by a year from presently if some person comes up with a more powerful machine or a higher computer,” he says. “In imaging, machines that we may barely conceive of five years ago are presently commonplace. But I think it is fair to say that some kind of imaging method will be accessible within five to 10 years.”

For more information from WebMD, visit our Infections and Conditions Alzheimer’s page.