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Alzheimer's Blood Test Offered for Research Use

A new blood test said to predict Alzheimer's disease up to 10 years before its onset will be available to researchers and pharmaceutical companies this fall, according to NanoSomiX, the company that developed it.

A new blood test said to predict Alzheimer’s disease up to 10 years before its onset will be available to researchers and pharmaceutical companies this fall, according to NanoSomiX, the company that developed it.

Preliminary findings from a study by the US National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute on Aging showed a novel blood test worked to detect 3 protein markers for the disease.

In an article published Aug. 14 in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, Massimo Fiandaca, MD and colleagues said their research showed the test could accurately detect the presence of p-tau and two other proteins in subjects’ blood exosomes (small membrane-bound packets of cellular components that escape the cell).

Positive tests accurately predicted which patients would develop the disease. That was often years before they showed symptoms.

NanoSomiX, based in Aliso Viejo, CA, on Sept. 10 announced that its proprietary blood assay to measure one of those proteins, p-tau, will be available to researchers this fall.

The test is the first to measure the presence of p-tau in blood, the company said in its announcement.

Doctors can currently test for p-tau only by performing a spinal tap, an invasive and more expensive procedure.

Alzheimer’s affects an estimated 5.2 million people in the US and so far has no cure.

Identifying patients with subclinical Alzheimer’s could open the door to finding ways to halt or slow the disease before symptoms appear, the company said.

Such a test “Is an essential step toward finding effective therapies,” said NanoSomiX chief executive John Osth in the company announcement.

The company helped fund the study, along with the NIH and the University of Kentucky Alzheimer’ Disease Center. The study tracked 162 patients at 8 study sites. Half had Alzheimer’s and half were controls.