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What is the A16 Study?

A16 will utilize PET scan technology and 18F-AV-1451, a radioactive tracer, to detect tau protein in the brain. These levels will be compared to tau protein detected by autopsy of the brain to determine the sensitivity and specificity of the recently developed 18F-AV-1451 tracer.

PET scan

Sperling, Neuron 2014

What is the purpose of A16?

This study is aimed at understanding the relationship between tau protein detected by PET scan and actual tau protein present in post-mortem brain tissue. Tau is a protein that accumulates, forming “tangles,” within the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The tangles damage the way brain cells are able to communicate which eventually leads to death of these cells. Until recently, researchers were unable to determine tau accumulation in the brains of living people. With the development of an investigational PET scan technology, researchers believe they are now able to see tau in the living brain. This study aims to determine how effectively this investigational technology is by measuring tau visible on the PET scan with what is seen under the microscope on examination at autopsy.


Participants must be diagnosed with and nearing the end of a terminal illness (within 6 months). Participants must give consent for brain donation. A dementia/Alzheimer’s diagnosis is not required.

Please review the A16 Brochure for additional details about the trial. You may also view a Channel 10 Health Check Video spotlighting the A16 study.

If you are interested in learning more about the A16 study, please call (401) 455-6403 or send an email to: Ask about the “A16 study.”

More information on other current research studies at Butler Hospital.

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