Alzheimer's Blood Test in the Works
Test May Predict Which Patients With Mild Warning Signs Will Develop Alzheimer's Disease
Oct. 15, 2007 -- Researchers report promising results from a blood test
they're developing to predict Alzheimer's disease by up to six years before
The blood test isn't ready for use yet. But it may one day help doctors
identify which people with mild memory problems will eventually develop
So say the researchers, who included Tony Wyss-Coray, PhD, of Stanford
University's medical school.
They created a blood test for Alzheimer's disease based on 18 proteins in
Cells use those proteins to communicate with each other, and their
communications change as Alzheimer's disease unfolds.
Wyss-Coray and colleagues developed the blood test to detect changes in
those 18 proteins that foretell Alzheimer's disease.
"Just as a psychiatrist can conclude a lot of things by listening to the
words of a patient, so by 'listening' to different proteins we are measuring
whether something is going wrong in the cells," Wyss-Coray says in a
Stanford news release.
"It's not that the cells are using new words when something goes
wrong," he explains. "It's just that some words are much stronger and
some are much weaker; the chatter has a different tone."
The researchers tested 259 plasma samples from people without any memory
problems, people with mild
cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer's patients.
The blood test was "close to 90% accurate" in identifying the
Among 47 people with mild cognitive impairment at the time of the blood
test, the test was 91% accurate in predicting who developed Alzheimer's disease
within two to five years of the blood test.
The findings appear online in Nature Medicine and will be in the
journal's November print edition.
The study was partly funded by Satoris Inc., a company that is developing
the Alzheimer's blood test.
Wyss-Coray and two of his colleagues founded Satoris Inc. Wyss-Coray is a
Satoris Inc. consultant. One of his colleagues worked for Satoris Inc. at the
time of the study.