Tau proteins (named after the Greek letter T) are commonly associated with chronic neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and traumatic brain injuries. Positron Emission Tomography (PET), a non-invasive imaging technology, is used to measure disruptive tau accumulations in the brain. Currently there are few available PET tracers that can be used to measure tau concentrations. But, according to Dr. Eric Hostetler, Executive Director of the Translational Imaging Biomarkers at Merck, these PET tracers have limitations that include in some cases unexplained off-target binding i.e., the binding of the PET tracer to a protein other than tau. Nevertheless, Dr. Hostetler believes that tau PET imaging is crucial for AD drug development and that is only a matter of time until an optimized tracer for tau pathology is discovered. Dr. Hostetler was the guest speaker at a seminar series organized by the MGH Gordon Center and his lecture was titled “Tau PET Imaging in Drug Development: Opportunities, Progress, and Future Directions”.
About the Gordon Lecture Series:
The Gordon Center for Medical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University develops new biomedical imaging technologies used in diagnosis and therapy. In addition to translational research, the Center organizes lectures and symposiums as part of its effort to inspire the public and the scientific community about the latest research topics in medical imaging.