May 29, 2024
Alzheimer's Disease

Groundbreaking Blood Test for Alzheimer’s Disease Promises Comprehensive Diagnosis and Management

A breakthrough in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) diagnosis and management has been achieved through an international collaboration led by Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). The team, headed by Prof. Nancy Ip, has developed an advanced blood test for the early detection of AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), boasting exceptional accuracy rates exceeding 96% and 87%, respectively.

The newly devised blood test marks a significant advancement as it is universally applicable across different ethnic populations, offering a global solution for the diagnosis and treatment of AD. The findings of this research endeavor have been recently reported in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

AD, affecting over 50 million individuals globally, is characterized by the accumulation of toxic amyloid beta (Aβ) in the brain, resulting in cognitive decline, memory loss, and other challenges in daily functioning. While the recent approval of the AD drug Lecanemab provides hope in targeting those with elevated Aβ associated with MCI or mild AD-related dementia, a considerable portion of affected individuals remain undiagnosed and untreated due to the complexities in early detection.

Traditionally, the measurement of elevated Aβ levels necessitated costly brain imaging or invasive procedures. Moreover, the reliance on clinical observation of symptoms, which usually manifest years after disease onset, poses a hurdle to timely diagnosis and intervention.

The development of this groundbreaking blood test offers a monumental shift in the landscape of AD detection and management. Prof. Ip’s team at HKUST has engineered a blood test capable of accurately identifying individuals with MCI and mild AD while concurrently detecting elevated Aβ levels in the brain.

In a multinational study encompassing subjects of Chinese and European descent, the research team demonstrated the effectiveness of the blood test in distinguishing individuals with AD and MCI from cognitively healthy individuals. Notably, the test’s ability to detect brain amyloid pathology underscores its potential for global applicability across diverse regions and ethnicities.

Unlike conventional blood assays focusing on single biomarkers, the HKUST-developed blood test concurrently examines 21 proteins, offering insights into various biological pathways and enhancing the precision of AD and MCI classification. This comprehensive profiling of AD for each individual lays the foundation for personalized treatment strategies, propelling the field towards precision medicine in AD diagnosis and management.

Prof. Ip envisions the blood test as a game-changer in diagnostics, offering a simple, efficient, and minimally invasive tool for AD detection. The test’s flexibility across diverse populations opens avenues for tailored drug treatments in clinical research and enables close monitoring of disease progression and treatment responses.

Looking ahead, the blood test holds promise in unraveling the molecular complexities of AD, providing a roadmap for the development of personalized treatment regimens catering to individual variations in disease manifestation across different ethnic groups.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it