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2011 Grants - Tang
Early Detection of Amyloid Plaques in Alzheimer's Disease with X-Ray Phase CT
Xiangyang Tang, Ph.D.
2011 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
Many scientists around the world are working to develop better ways to visualize changes in the brain that occur before and during the development of Alzheimer's disease. One of the key goals of this research is an imaging method that shows amyloid plaque in the living brain at high resolution. The most common approaches being studied involve the use of a dye or antibody that binds to plaques and can then be detected by imaging methods, such as positron emission tomography. Although progress has been made with these approaches, they have several drawbacks, including the body's ability to restrict which molecules from the blood stream can enter the brain.
Xiangyang Tang, Ph.D., and colleagues are working with a novel imaging technology called x-ray phase computed tomography (x-ray phase CT) that may represent a new approach to imaging amyloid plaques in the brain. Unlike other brain imaging technologies, x-ray phase CT can be used to distinguish some soft tissues in the body without the use of a dye. Dr. Tang and colleagues believe that x-ray phase CT may be able to distinguish amyloid plaques from other tissues, thereby providing a way to generate high-resolution images of beta-amyloid in the brain of living persons without having to use a dye or antibody. The researchers have proposed a series of studies to develop this technology, first using artificial models containing amyloid plaques, then using postmortem brains. These studies may lead to the development of a new imaging technology that can be used to detect amyloid plaque in the brain in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, and to monitor progression of the disease during treatment.