Among various neurodegenerative diseases, 4.5 million Americans are believed to have Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and by 2050, the number could increase to 13 million. It appears that life expectancy and the incidence of AD seem to be moving hand-in-hand. The present annual cost of $100 billion is expected to reach $400 billion by 2025, thereby exerting a considerable burden on the national healthcare infrastructure. Several pharmaceutical companies are working on design and development of therapeutics for treatment of patients suffering from AD. While a wonderful therapeutic drug continues to be a distant dream, several biomarkers have been identified as possible targets. For assisting drug discovery, diagnostic imaging could have wide applications in premortem diagnosis and monitoring of new disease-modifying therapeutics.
Our group actively seeks positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) diagnostic agents that are capable of evaluating noninvasively the presence of β-amyloid (Aβ) aggregates and other proteins in vivo. Our objective is to identify PET/SPECT agents capable of identifying AD at earlier stages, prior to its full clinical expression. We are specifically interested in design and development of highly sensitive and specific imaging probes wherein PET imaging data on disease staging is in accord with globally accepted criteria of clinical dementia ratings (CDR).