Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative: Using Amyloid Imaging as a Biomarker for Alzheimer's

UCSF’s Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), the world’s largest observational study on Alzheimer’s disease, is pioneering the use of amyloid PET imaging as a diagnostic biomarker for a disease that afflicts over 5 million Americans. Amyloid is a protein specifically associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Michael Weiner, MD,  Professor in Residence in UCSF’s Departments of Radiology and Biomedical imaging, Medicine, Psychiatry and Neurology, has been using fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET and amyloid PET for research in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative for about 11 years.  

“ADNI has been the major study to validate amyloid imaging as a biomarker of Alzheimer’s,” explained Dr. Weiner. “All clinical trials today use the ADNI biomarkers. Now ADNI is helping to validate more biomarkers. When a treatment finally gets approved for subjects, it will have been built on the accomplishments of ADNI.”

Dr. Weiner believes the PET/MRI, a hybrid imaging technology that combines the soft tissue morphological imaging of MRI and the functional imaging of positron emission tomography (PET), could potentially diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. This would represent an important step toward developing a treatment to prevent or slow the progression of a disease that currently cannot be slowed or cured.

Learn more about Amyloid Imaging for Alzheimer’s disease assessment and see if you would be a candidate for the scan by clicking here.

Michael Weiner, MD, is a professor in residence in Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Medicine, Psychiatry, and Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. He is principal investigator of the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, which is the largest observational study in the world concerning Alzheimer's Disease. Dr. Weiner’s research activities involve the development and utilization of MRI and PET for investigating and diagnosing neurodegenerative diseases. During the past 25 years he has worked to develop and optimized the use of MRI, PET, and blood-based biomarker methods to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. Also, Dr. Weiner’s research focuses on monitoring effects of treatment to slow progressions in Alzheimer’s disease, and detecting Alzheimer’s disease early in patients who are not demented, but risk subsequent development of dementia. Dr. Weiner has 649 published articles and he has written 70 book chapters.

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