Identifying optimal blood tests for the development of new Alzheimer's therapies

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A new study has identified which blood tests are best at detecting Alzheimer's disease during the earliest stages, and another blood test that is optimal for detecting relevant treatment effects. These findings will speed up the development of new therapies that can slow down the disease progression.

The Swedish study lead by Professor Oskar Hanssson, Lund University, and Professor Kaj Blennow, University of Gothenburg, looked at several newly development blood tests for Alzheimer's disease pathology and neurodegeneration in 575 individuals from the BioFINDER cohort. In 242 participants, the plasma tests were repeated for up to 6 years, along with cognitive testing and magnetic resonance imaging.

The study, published in Nature Medicine, revealed that multiple blood biomarkers, namely phospho-tau231 and Aβ42/40, were sufficient in identifying Alzheimer's disease pathology, even in participants with no symptoms and thus, could be used as strategy to select the correct individuals for novel disease modifying trials—a task which currently requires expensive molecular imaging technique or lumbar punctures.

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