Scientists from Australia and Japan have developed the world’s first accurate blood test for Alzheimer’s Disease that can detect the presence of the disease up to 30 years prior to symptoms showing.
The blood test measures the build-up of the protein amyloid-beta, which is one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Blood samples from patients in a large study from the Japanese National Center for Geriatics and Gerontology (NCGG) were analysed to identify the protein amyloid-beta. Those blood samples with beta-amyloid were then tested over more than a decade against patient samples from the Australian Imaging, Biomarker and Lifestyle Study of Aging (AIBL), to validate the results.
The performance of the blood test is so good that it has accuracy of about 90 per cent and could be used to screen people for clinical trials.
It is a remarkable discovery, as the process of Alzheimer’s Disease commences silently approximately 30 years prior to outward signs of dementia, including memory loss or cognitive decline, showing.
Professor Colin Masters from the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health co-led the research. He said: “It (the blood test) will be an invaluable tool in increasing the speed of screening potential patients for new drug trials.”
Professor Masters added that the blood test will make diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease easier, cheaper and more readily available than the current invasive and expensive options of scanning patients and undertaking spinal fluid lumbar punctures.
Importantly, if the blood test is negative, there is a 95 per cent chance that you’re not going to develop Alzheimer’s Disease in the next 10 to 15 years.
Read more – The top early warning signs of dementia
Professor Colin Masters added that progress in developing new therapeutic strategies for Alzheimer’s Disease has been slow. None of the drugs currently on the market treat the underlying disease and new drugs are urgently required, with a rigorous patient selection.
The results of the study were published in the Nature journal.
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