blood test

Rowan University Announces Highly Accurate Alzheimer’s Blood Test

Test shows nearly 97% accuracy detecting AD years before symptoms emerge

A team of researchers from Rowan-Virtua School of Osteopathic Medicine (Rowan-Virtua SOM) and Durin Technologies, Inc., have announced the results of a newly-designed blood test that can detect the presence of Alzheimer’s disease-related pathology up to 10 years before symptoms arise with a nearly 97% accuracy rate. Their findings appear online ahead of press in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The study involved 328 blood samples with the goal of determining if a test that monitors a small number of a patient’s autoantibodies can detect Alzheimer’s disease (AD)-related pathology at pre-symptomatic, prodromal (i.e., mild cognitive impairment), and mild-moderate stages of the disease.

“Alzheimer’s disease pathology begins a decade or more before the emergence of hallmark symptoms,” explained Dr. Robert Nagele, the founder and chief scientific officer at Durin Technologies, Inc., and a professor of Geriatrics and Gerontology at Rowan-Virtua SOM. “An accurate, non-invasive blood test for early detection and monitoring of AD could bend the curve of clinical outcomes through earlier participation in clinical trials and monitoring of AD progression of patients under treatment.”

The research team showed that their test, using just eight autoantibody biomarkers, could accurately identify the presence of Alzheimer’s disease pathology across the disease’s progression, including among those originally determined to have no trace of the disease.

“Our test correctly identified nearly 97% of participants who were diagnosed as cognitively normal at the time their samples were taken, but who progressed, within an average of 48 months, to either the mild cognitive impairment stage or more advanced Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Cassandra DeMarshall, the study’s lead investigator and Durin’s director of research. “To our knowledge, this is the first blood test to accurately detect Alzheimer’s-related pathology several years before either clinical symptoms or more expensive and invasive tests can identify the disease.”

The samples used in this research were from participants enrolled in clinical studies at the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging and the Parkinson’s Study Group. Samples from 106 healthy, non-demented participants served as controls.

For a number of reasons, the test has significant potential to impact effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. The test is minimally invasive and inexpensive, it can diagnose or predict clinical decline in asymptomatic individuals, and it can monitor a patient’s progress while under treatment, making it ideal for use in clinical trials and in frontline and community primary care settings, including those in rural and economically disadvantaged regions.

The researchers noted that the use of autoantibodies as blood-based biomarkers is particularly exciting because it enables development of a platform technology for early detection of multiple diseases.

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