Researchers in Spain have taken a step closer to finding a blood test to help in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.
With about 75% of the estimated 36 million people with Alzheimer’s disease worldwide yet to receive a reliable diagnosis, lead researcher Professor Manuel Sarasa, from biotech firm Araclon Biotech, believes the potential impact of a blood test could be huge.
Major contributors to Alzheimer's diseases
There is a large amount of research supporting the theory that a group of peptides called beta amyloid (A), which are found naturally in the body, are major contributors to Alzheimer’s disease.
Professor Sarasa and his team have been developing blood tests ‘Aßtest40’ and ‘Aßtest42’ to measure the very small amounts of these peptides in the blood.
"The study has shown that our tests for Aß in blood find a high level of association between the peptide levels and the disease when comparing healthy people and people with mild cognitive impairment," Professor Sarasa explained.
By measuring three different levels in blood – free in plasma, bound to plasma components and bound to blood cells – for two of the most significant peptides, Aß40 and Aß42, then comparing the ratios of those levels to established diagnoses methods, the researchers have been able to consistently show a relationship between Aß levels and the disease.
Closer to a reliable biomarker for Alzheimer's
"This means that we, and by `we’ I mean Alzheimer’s’ researchers in general, are that much closer to having a reliable, minimally invasive biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease,” Professor Sarasa continued.
"The importance of this is that studies could recruit earlier and at much less expense. Interventional therapies can be tested in earlier stages of the disease and once an effective therapy is found, this type of test will be well suited to population screening in the public health sector."
There is already a larger multinational study underway with 255 patients in Zaragoza looking to confirm the results of the Aß tests with other similar groups of patients around the world. Read the full study report on www.j-alz.com from July