Alzheimers drug Amyvid raises ethical questions

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Last Friday, the FDA approved Amyvid, a drug for Alzheimer’s diagnosis that was created and developed by Penn faculty Daniel Skovronsky and Hank Kung. It dyes brain deposits of amyloid plaque, which are correlated with Alzheimer’s disease.

However, the FDA has treaded cautiously, approving Amyvid only for limited uses. If brains scanned with Amyvid test negative, then the patient will be deemed Alzheimer-negative.

Cases where the Amyvid scans test positive will only signify the patient has significant levels of plaque, but will not confirm an Alzheimer’s Disease diagnosis.

Since there is no drug on the market that successfully removes amyloid plaque, Saboury said there should be no rush to market the tracer. How useful can it be for patients to know they are at risk when there is no cure or treatment?

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