Local researchers said they have clinically proven how to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease early through blood testing.
The research team, led by Professor Youn Young-chul of the Department of Neurology at Chung-Ang University College of Medicine, published a study titled, “Blood Amyloid-β Oligomerization as a Biomarker of Alzheimer’s Disease: A Blinded Validation Study,” in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
|Professor Youn Young-chul of the Department of Neurology at Chung-Ang University College of Medicine|
So far, the biomarkers for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease have been abnormal protein components found in the patient’s cerebrospinal fluid, such as amyloid-beta and phosphorylated tau (P-tau), total tau (T-tau). Also, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging can be used. However, these tests are invasive and expensive, thus ineffective in clinical use.
To overcome these issues, many researchers have been working hard to discover a biomarker that makes Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis easier and economically friendly.
However, most studies so far have failed to produce a fruitful outcome.
Professor Youn’s team examined the level of amyloid-beta oligomerization using a “Multimer Detection System-Oligomeric amyloid-beta” (MDS-OAβ) in the blood of 52 patients with Alzheimer’s, in comparison with those in 52 healthy people with normal cognition.
The results showed that patients with Alzheimer’s had 1.43 ng/ml in MDS-Oaβ, versus the healthy people’s 0.45 ng/ml. The difference between the two numbers was clinically meaningful.
Physicians measure the severity of Alzheimer’s disease with Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) ranging from 0.5 to 3. The mild dementia patient with CDR at 0.5 had 1.46ng/ml MDS-Oaβ, and the one with CDR at 1 had 1.53ng/ml MDS-Oaβ. In stark contrast, the normal person had 0.45ng/ml.
The research team found that this blood testing produced 100 percent sensitivity and 92 percent specificity to predict Alzheimer’s disease.
To get the MDS-OAβ values, the researchers measured the degree of amyloid-beta oligomerization in plasma after adding amyloid-beta. The method can distinguish a patient with Alzheimer’s disease and a healthy person.
Youn said his research team aimed to develop a diagnostic kit for easy clinical use, based on this study, and commercialize it within this year.
“As we confirmed the clinical usefulness of amyloid-beta oligomerization in preliminary research using multi-center samples at home and abroad, the method is expected to be of great help in treating dementia,” Youn said.
He added that given the mechanism of MDS-OAβ, it might also be valuable as a monitoring biomarker that shows the course of the disease.
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