Head-to-Head Harmonization of Tau Tracers in Alzheimer's Disease (HEAD)

  • End date
    May 31, 2027
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Tharick Pascoal
Updated on 7 October 2022
cognitive impairment
alzheimer's disease
mild cognitive impairment
senile plaques
pittsburgh compound b
Accepts healthy volunteers


The purpose of this study is to compare/harmonize cross-sectional and longitudinal tau tangle measurements obtained with the tau PET radiopharmaceuticals Flortaucipir and MK-6240 to elucidate the advantages and caveats of their use in clinical trials/practice and provide parameters to integrate their estimates.


This is a longitudinal, multi-site, non-randomized study in which the participants will undergo Flortaucipir and MK-6240 PET scans at baseline and approximately at 18-month follow-up. At each time point, participants will also have an amyloid-β PET scan, magnetic resonance imaging, detailed cognitive tests, and a blood draw for biomarker quantification. The main objectives of this study are standardizing tau PET tracers' outcomes and comparing their performance.

To accomplish our objectives, the investigators propose the following specific aims:

In Aim 1, investigators will standardize tau PET processing methods, convert the tracers to a common scale, compare associations with amyloid-β, atrophy, and cognition, and compare/harmonize Braak staging assessments between tau tracers using cross-sectional data.

In Aim 2, investigators will ascertain the optimal processing method for longitudinal analysis and compare longitudinal changes in tau accumulation obtained with the tau PET radiopharmaceuticals and their associations with changes in amyloid-β, atrophy, and cognition.

In Exploratory Aim 3, investigators will compare cross-sectional and longitudinal Flortaucipir and MK-6240 estimates with plasma phosphorylated tau concentrations.

This study will produce a benchmark dataset to develop methods for tau PET quantification and harmonization.

Condition Alzheimer Disease
Treatment 18F-Flortaucipir radiopharmaceutical, 18F-MK-6240 radiopharmaceutical, Amyloid-β radiopharmaceutical (11C-PiB or 18F-Florbetaben or 18F-NAV-4694)
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT05361382
SponsorTharick Pascoal
Last Modified on7 October 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Have an informant who will be able to provide an independent evaluation of functioning
Willing and capable of undergoing repeated MR/PET imaging
Fluent in a language approved by the coordinating center
At screening, must have no cognitive impairment, or meet criteria for single- or multiple-domain amnestic mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease dementia

Exclusion Criteria

Inability to provide informed consent by self or by proxy
Pregnant or breastfeeding women
Have any condition or are taking any medication that could increase the risk to the participant, limit the ability to tolerate or interfere with the results of the tests and procedures (in the opinion of the investigator)
Clear my responses

How to participate?

Step 1 Connect with a study center
What happens next?
  • You can expect the study team to contact you via email or phone in the next few days.
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Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

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If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

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Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

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