Eli Lilly says FDA approves brain imaging agent

Eli Lilly says FDA approves brain imaging agent

In a late Friday announcement, Eli Lilly and Co. and Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, Inc. - a fully-owned Lilly subsidiary -, said that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given its approval to Amyvid, a diagnostic imaging agent which is intended at helping in the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.

In March last year, the FDA had refused to approve Amyvid, and had asked Eli Lilly to create such a program which would ensure that scans taken with the help of Amyvid would be interpreted accurately.

With the FDA now having approved Amyvid, Eli Lilly said that the brain imaging tool - developed by Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, which Eli Lilly acquired in 2010 for $300 million - is chiefly aimed at helping in the detection of the cause of cognitive decline in Alzheimer's patients, as the brain imaging agent binds to beta-amyloid plaques, which are one of the key characteristics of Alzheimer's disease.

In the opinion of the researchers, while doctors currently rely on physical and mental tests as well as observation of patients to detect Alzheimer's symptoms, a quicker diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is possible if amyloid plaques are detected at an early stage.

The Amyvid radioactive imaging agent can help in the early detection of cognitive conditions like Alzheimer's as it causes beta-amyloid plaques to show up on positron emission tomography (PET) scans of the patient's brain. However, it does not prove that a patient suffering from cognitive problems has Alzheimer's disease, though the condition cannot be ruled out completely.

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