Alzheimer's Blood Test Development
Alzheimer's Disease Test
Proteins found in the blood can indicate an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease, according to groundbreaking new research published today (30 October) in the journal Brain. It is the first time markers for the development of Alzheimer's have been identified in blood.
The findings take researchers a step closer to knowing whether a blood test can be used to diagnose and measure progression of the disease.
There is no cure, long-term treatment or prevention for Alzheimer's disease. It is currently diagnosed using methods including memory tests and brain scans, but a definitive diagnosis can only be given at post mortem.
This five-year project based at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, and funded by the Alzheimer's Research Trust, used a cutting-edge process known as proteomics to identify proteins increased in the blood of Alzheimer's patients but not in a control group of healthy older people. Two of these proteins were confirmed as markers for the disease through blood tests carried out on 500 Alzheimer's patients in the UK.
Lead researcher Simon Lovestone, Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, said, 'This is certainly an exciting development in the battle against Alzheimer's. It is a devastating disease and we currently have problems diagnosing it and measuring its progression in patients. We need to find new methods of diagnosing Alzheimer's early to help get treatments to patients when they might most benefit. Further research is now needed to establish if a simple, accurate blood test for Alzheimer's can become a reality.'
Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer's Research Trust, added, 'We are delighted to be funding what could be a breakthrough study in the diagnosis of Alzheimer's. The Alzheimer's Research Trust is committed to furthering our understanding of the disease and improving the quality of life for the 750,000 people affected by dementia in the UK, a figure that will double in the next 20 years. World-class research such as this will move us further toward that goal. The Government also needs to make Alzheimer's funding a priority so that we can continue to push through the urgent research that is needed.'
Proteomics refers to the analysis of proteins and was used by researchers to measure proteins that change during the development of Alzheimer's. The research was carried out in collaboration with Proteome Sciences plc, to identify the biomarkers in blood.
This release was issued by The Alzheimer's Research Trust.
The Alzheimer's Research Trust is the leading UK research charity for Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, it is dedicated to funding and encouraging the very best UK-led research. With no government funding, the Alzheimer's Research Trust relies on public donations to fund its research. The Alzheimer's Research Trust provides free information on Alzheimer's disease and other related dementias: phone 01223 843899 or visit www.alzheimers-research.org.uk
The study was part-funded by the European Commission through the InnoMed Project.
Proteome Sciences plc, a global leader in applied proteomics, has its UK laboratory at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London.
The Institute of Psychiatry is part of King's College London and closely affiliated to the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. The Institute is a world-renowned centre for treatment, research and training in psychiatry and mental health.