A team of researchers led by Robert Nagele from Rowan University has developed a blood test that uses the body’s immune response system to detect an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease.The test was developed with a team from Rowan’s School of Osteopathic Medicine and Durin Technologies, and detects mild cognitive impairment, according to a statement from Rowan.
In a test with 236 individuals, a sensitivity and specificity rate of 100 percent was achieved for identifying subjects with the early stage of Alzheimer’s.
“About 60 percent of all MCI patients have MCI caused by an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease. The remaining 40 percent of cases are caused by other factors, including vascular issues, drug side effects and depression. To provide proper care, physicians need to know which cases of MCI are due to early Alzheimer’s and which are not,” said Cassandra DeMarshall, the lead author, and a Ph.D. candidate at the Rowan University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, in a statement. “Our results show that it is possible to use a small number of blood-borne autoantibodies to accurately diagnose early-stage Alzheimer’s. These findings could eventually lead to the development of a simple, inexpensive and relatively noninvasive way to diagnose this devastating disease in its earliest stages.”
Nagele, the study’s corresponding author and co-founder of Durin, said this can help with the current belief that Alzheimer’s presents itself in changes in the brain at least a decade before obvious symptoms arise.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first blood test using autoantibody biomarkers that can accurately detect Alzheimer’s at an early point in the course of the disease when treatments are more likely to be beneficial — that is, before too much brain devastation has occurred.”
This means patients can know and address the disease through lifestyle changes at an earlier stage.
Results also differentiated by disease, and the test was able to tell MCI compared with other diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and early stage breast cancer.
The results of the research were published in an article in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring.
The research was supported in part by the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation, but did not involve the entities in study design, data collection or analysis.