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SNMMI: Diagnosing Alzheimer's in the cloud

by Gus Iversen, Editor in Chief | June 09, 2015
CT Molecular Imaging X-Ray
For experts in nuclear medicine, there is no shortage of meaningful innovations being presented at this years SNMMI annual meeting in Baltimore. Much of the conversation, as expected, revolves around new tracers and protocols for PET and SPECT imaging, the pathway from research to the clinic, and the importance of amyloid imaging in the fight against Alzheimer's.

Walking around the Baltimore Convention Center, one can't help but realize they are surrounded by doctors at the top of their respective fields. For those attendees, the full fruit of the SNMMI annual meeting reveals itself. For the rest of us, we are perhaps most drawn to the concepts that we can best understand.

Dr. Victor Villemagne, a leading molecular imaging researcher at Austin Health, Heidelberg in Victoria, Australia, presented findings that might have been just as at home at HIMSS as they were at SNMMI: a cloud-based platform to interpret amyloid PET scans.

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"The reporting of PET is usually subjected to different interpretation based on the training, experience, and personality of the reporting specialist," explained Villemagne, adding that each tracer has a specific way of being read.

With CapAIBL, all amyloid tracers available in the U.S. and Europe for clinical use can be compared in a standardized format. "After loading the images into the cloud, in one or two hours a report comes in that says if there is a low or high amount of amyloid in the brain, the regional values of the amyloid, and what is significantly abnormal or what is more typical," he said.

Villemagne and his colleagues believe their program could lead to earlier and more accurate diagnosis, as well as more appropriate treatment for neurodegenerative disease.

As Alzheimer's becomes more and more common, the value of a system like CapAIBL could be tremendous. Like many of the advancements being made against Alzheimer's, Villemagne and his team speculate the full potential of their system will be realized as therapeutic solutions emerge to diminish the development of the disease.

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