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A picture of progress: PET imaging and biomarkers explored at ACS meeting

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 Doctors often have wished they could dispense with diagnostic guesswork and simply peer inside a human body to see the effects of a disease or if a particular medicine really works. Now, researchers are perfecting tools to do precisely that. In coming years, this work could vastly improve the treatment and health of patients, including those with neurodegenerative diseases or cancer. Researchers will share their progress on this new medical frontier in a symposium, "Biomarkers and PET Imaging," on Wednesday, Aug. 31, at the Washington Convention Center (Room 206), during the 230th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, D.C. Highlights are below:

Spotting Alzheimers Disease Early By the time Alzheimers disease is suspected, amyloid plaques, one of the theorized causes of the disease, may already have done significant damage in the brain. If doctors could diagnose the disease earlier, when amyloid plaques are just beginning to form, emerging therapies might slow or even stop the disease. In pursuit of this ideal, a research team led by the University of Pittsburgh recently developed Pittsburgh compound B a tracer molecule that highlights beta-amyloid, a telltale Alzheimer protein, in a positron emission tomography (PET) brain scan. The team has launched a 10-year population study to track beta-amyloid development in the brains of aging seniors. The researchers also hope to help establish if plaque build-up leads to cognitive decline. A University of Pittsburgh scientist describes this and other new research. (MEDI 255, 9:00 a.m.)

Picture Potential PET biomarkers offer an emerging tool that could one day be used to evaluate virtually any type of drug acting in an intact animal or living human, scientists say. Biomarkers an established measure of biological change could be developed to non-invasively assess the effects of drugs on several key cellular components
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