A good night’s rest may literally clear the mind. Using mice, researchers showed for the first time that the space between brain cells may increase during sleep, allowing the brain to flush out toxins that build up during waking hours. These results suggest a new role for sleep in health and disease. The study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the NIH.
Fueled by new cancer therapeutics, last year the annual new molecular and biological entity approval count from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) saw its highest year since 1997. One-third of the novel products approved by the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) are used to treat cancers of the blood, breast, colon, prostate, skin and thyroid.
Neoprobe’s newly licensed radiopharmaceutical imaging agent, AZD4694, is a fluorine-18 labeled radioligand for use in the imaging and evaluation of patients with signs or symptoms of cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s disease.
According to Thomas Tulip, Ph.D., Neoprobe’s Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer:
We believe AZD4694 has a compelling global commercial outlook and should beneficially facilitate development of more effective disease-modifying therapies for Alzheimer’s disease. This potentially powerful second-generation agent with apparent best-in-class properties has demonstrated strong performance attributes. We believe AZD4694 imaging may be quite useful as an adjunct measure in the diagnosis of this large, growing disease and may allow patients to seek earlier, and therefore potentially more effective, treatment options.
An estimated 35 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. A 2009 report by the London-based nonprofit Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), an international federation of 71 national Alzheimer organizations (including the Alzheimer’s Association), indicates that the number of people with dementia is expected to grow sharply to 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050.
AZD4694 binds to beta-amyloid deposits in the brain and can then be imaged in positron emission tomography (PET) scans. Amyloid plaque pathology is a required feature of Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis and the presence of amyloid pathology is a supportive feature for diagnosis of probable Alzheimer’s disease. Patients who are negative for amyloid pathology do not have Alzheimer’s disease.
Neoprobe Corporation, a Dublin, Ohio-based company, develops and commercializes innovative biomedical products that meet critical intraopertive, diagnostic and therapeutic treatment needs of patients and physicans. In January, Neoprobe will officially change its name to Navidea Biopharmaceuticals to reflect the company’s transformation to a biopharmaceutical company focused on targeted diagnostic agents.
Neuroimaging is one of the most promising research areas for detection of the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Using neuroimaging together with proteomics, researchers report in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease that a blood test may reflect the levels of beta amyloid protein in the brain — a hallmark of the disease . The findings may eventually lead to a blood test that helps to predict the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.
For people free of dementia, abnormal deposits of a protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease are associated with increased risk of developing the symptoms of the progressive brain disorder, according to two studies from researchers at Washington University in St. Louis. The studies, primarily funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, linked higher amounts of the protein deposits in dementia-free people with greater risk for developing the disease, and with loss of brain volume and subtle declines in cognitive abilities.