Measuring tau rate of change and propagation: implications for diagnosis, prognosis and therapy trials in AD.

Year: July 1, 2016


Program Overview:

Microscopic clumps of abnormal proteins in the brain in the form of amyloid plaques and tau neurofibrillary tangles are a key finding in Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid plaque imaging with PET scans has been possible for a decade and has led to earlier and more accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and made possible new clinical trials aimed at stopping or delaying dementia in people with very early Alzheimer’s disease. Recently a method to image tau has been developed that also uses PET scanning. It is thought that tau causes more direct damage to the brain than amyloid and anti-tau therapies are needed.

By twice scanning 100 participants including healthy people and those with very early Alzheimer’s disease 18 months apart, this project will provide important information on how, and how quickly, tau spreads in the brain and whether health and lifestyle influences this spread. This information may reveal new therapeutic approaches for delaying or stopping the development of dementia. Use of tau imaging to track treatment response may reduce the size and duration needed for clinical trials and therefore speed the development of new therapies for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Successful DCRC grant recipient 2016

Other team members:

Prof Alan Connelly, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health