We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content and advertising. To learn more, click here. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies. Cookie Policy.

Features Partner Sites Information LinkXpress
Sign In
Advertise with Us

Download Mobile App

Tau PET Scans Superior at Predicting Cognitive Decline in Patients than Commonly Used Imaging Techniques

By MedImaging International staff writers
Posted on 10 Aug 2023
Print article
Image: Tau imaging with 18F-Flortaucipir PET in Alzheimer’s disease (Photo courtesy of UNIGE)
Image: Tau imaging with 18F-Flortaucipir PET in Alzheimer’s disease (Photo courtesy of UNIGE)

Alzheimer's disease, a common neurodegenerative disorder, results in a gradual deterioration of memory and autonomy. This condition is characterized by the buildup of neurotoxic proteins, specifically amyloid plaques and tau tangles, within the brain. Given the silent progression of these pathological changes over decades, early diagnosis is vital to initiate interventions as soon as feasible in the disease's course. Now, researchers have demonstrated that tau PET, an innovative imaging method for visualizing the tau protein, can predict cognitive decline in patients with superior accuracy compared to conventional imaging techniques. These findings support the rapid integration of tau PET into clinical practice for providing early and individualized interventions for patients.

Positron emission tomography (PET), a key diagnostic tool for Alzheimer's disease, employs injected tracers to visualize specific brain pathologies. While amyloid plaques may not invariably correlate with cognitive or memory impairment, the presence of tau aligns closely with clinical symptoms and significantly influences whether a patient remains stable or deteriorates rapidly. Visualizing tau using imaging techniques has posed challenges due to its intricate structure and lower concentration. Flortaucipir, a radiotracer approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2020, binds with the tau protein. This tracer facilitates the detection of tau accumulation and its spatial distribution in the brain, enabling precise evaluation of its role in the clinical manifestation of the disease.

Scientists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE, Geneva, Switzerland) and the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG, Geneva, Switzerland) embarked on a study to determine which imaging technique—amyloid PET, glucose metabolism PET, or tau PET—best predicted future cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease. The study enrolled around 90 participants from the HUG Memory Centre. The study revealed that while all PET measures correlated with the presence of cognitive symptoms, validating their role as strong indicators of Alzheimer's disease, tau PET exhibited the greatest predictive capacity for cognitive decline rates, even in individuals with minimal symptoms. These findings support incorporating tau PET into routine clinical assessments to assess individual prognosis and select the most appropriate therapeutic plan for each patient.

“This breakthrough is crucial for better management of Alzheimer’s disease. Recently, drugs targeting amyloid have shown positive results. New drugs targeting the tau protein also look promising,” said Associate Professor Valentina Garibotto who directed the research. “By detecting the pathology as early as possible, before the brain is further damaged, and thanks to new treatments, we hope to be able to make a greater impact on patients’ future and quality of life. Similarly, we are beginning to map the distribution of tau in order to understand how its location in the different regions of the brain influences symptoms.”

Related Links:

Gold Member
Solid State Kv/Dose Multi-Sensor
Remote Controlled Digital Radiography and Fluoroscopy System
Eco Track-DRF - MARS 50/MARS50+/MARS 65/MARS 80
Endoscopic Ultrasound Fine Needle Biopsy Device
CT Phantom
CIRS Model 610 AAPM CT Performance Phantom

Print article


Nuclear Medicine

view channel
Image: Researchers have identified a new imaging biomarker for tumor responses to ICB therapy (Photo courtesy of 123RF)

New PET Biomarker Predicts Success of Immune Checkpoint Blockade Therapy

Immunotherapies, such as immune checkpoint blockade (ICB), have shown promising clinical results in treating melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, and other tumor types. However, the effectiveness of these... Read more

Imaging IT

view channel
Image: The new Medical Imaging Suite makes healthcare imaging data more accessible, interoperable and useful (Photo courtesy of Google Cloud)

New Google Cloud Medical Imaging Suite Makes Imaging Healthcare Data More Accessible

Medical imaging is a critical tool used to diagnose patients, and there are billions of medical images scanned globally each year. Imaging data accounts for about 90% of all healthcare data1 and, until... Read more
Copyright © 2000-2024 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.