Was this year’s HAI conference a bit of a misnomer? You could say so, if only to tease. The ninth incarnation of this rapidly growing conference, held January 14 to 16 in Miami Beach, Florida, featured as much excitement about tau as about amyloid imaging, for which several PET tracers are FDA-approved. At HAI, a brand-new tau tracer called THK-5351 debuted and three tracers by Roche were poking out of the preclinical pipeline. The leader of the pack, the Phase 2 tracer T807/AV1451, dominated the agenda as data were pouring in on its performance in Alzheimer’s and non-AD tauopathies—most of it good, some still rough around the edges. Meeting abstracts are freely downloadable here.
The field of tau PET is growing rapidly as the leading tracer T807/AV1451 is more widely used and new compounds from Japan and Switzerland enter the scene with clinical trials of their own.
Data come tumbling in as more people are getting scans with the first widely used tau PET tracer. Scientists at HAI were pleased by how closely degeneration and symptoms match up in Alzheimer’s.
Early data suggest that the T807/AV1451 signal relates to cerebrospinal biomarkers of Alzheimer’s, intensifies by up to 10 percent a year, and might nail diagnoses beyond typical AD.
At the HAI conference, scientists reported progress toward differential diagnosis of the bewildering spectrum of frontotemporal dementia and atypical Alzheimer’s variants. In some, hypometabolism overlaps with tau, not amyloid.
Autoradiography confirms that T807/AV1451 binds tau but not TDP-43. Even so, some say the tracer will benefit from more technical work to ensure it will measure small changes robustly in multicenter settings.