December 20, 2006—Siemens Medical Solutions Inc (Malvern, Pa) announced today that the FDA has green-lighted a Phase I, open label, single center safety study of an imaging agent designed to identify the disease pathology of Alzheimer’s. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers have developed a new diagnostic technique involving the new biomarker and PET imaging.

The traditional PET biomarker, FDG, cannot identify the abnormal brain protein deposits that cause Alzheimer’s. “Use of this biomarker technology may provide physicians with an early diagnostic tool and information in order to help identify susceptible individuals and allow for the early start of a treatment plan before symptoms appear,” noted Jorge R. Barrio, PhD, professor of medical and molecular pharmacology at UCLA and co-inventor of the Alzheimer’s-specific agent.

Depending on the outcome of Phase I, Siemens will initiate a multi-center clinical trial analyzing the agent’s ability to “light up” the tangles and plaques in the brains of living Alzheimer’s patients.

—Cat Vasko