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Technique Shows Potential of Bapineuzumab in Alzheimer's

11C-PiB PET shows the drug reduces amyloid-β deposits in the brain more than placebo

THURSDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- A neuroimaging technique known as carbon-11-labelled Pittsburgh compound B (11C-PiB) positron emission tomography (PET) shows that treating patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease with an antibody that targets amyloid-β is associated with a 25 percent reduction in amyloid-β deposits compared with placebo, according to a study published online March 1 in The Lancet Neurology.

Juha O. Rinne, M.D., from the University of Turku in Finland, and colleagues randomly assigned 28 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease to placebo or intravenous infusions of one of three doses of bapineuzumab, a humanized anti-amyloid-β monoclonal antibody, every 13 weeks.

Using 11C-PiB PET as a marker of cortical fibrillar amyloid-β load, the researchers found that, at 78 weeks, patients taking bapineuzumab had a significant decrease in the mean 11C-PiB retention ratio, while patients on placebo had a significant increase in the mean retention ratio. The effect was similar for all three bapineuzumab doses. They estimated that bapineuzumab treatment was associated with a 25 percent reduction in cortical fibrillar amyloid-β compared with placebo. Adverse events were observed in both groups and were typically transient and mild to moderate in severity.

"Treatment with bapineuzumab for 78 weeks reduced cortical 11C-PiB retention compared with both baseline and placebo," Rinne and colleagues conclude. "11C-PiB PET seems to be useful in assessing the effects of potential Alzheimer's disease treatments on cortical fibrillar amyloid-β load in vivo."

The study was funded by Elan Pharmaceuticals and Wyeth Research. Several authors reported financial, advisory or consulting relationships with Elan and Wyeth, as well as with other pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

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