A new blood test that is 96 percent accurate at identifying Alzheimer's disease and can perhaps detect it even before symptoms such as memory loss, poor judgment or erratic behaviour appear has been developed by scientists from Durin Technologies, Inc., and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)-School of Osteopathic Medicine.
The test that uses human protein microarrays to detect the presence of specific antibodies in the blood has a specificity of 92.5 percent and has the potential to spot Alzheimer's in its earliest stages.
The same test also demonstrated the ability to distinguish Alzheimer's from Parkinson's disease, a closely related neurodegenerative disorder.
"A test that can not only diagnose the disease in individuals showing telltale symptoms, but possibly also detect the disease years before these symptoms appear would make early therapeutic intervention possible. This would be a significant breakthrough as pharmaceutical companies are now working feverishly to develop new drugs that can stop or slow the progression of Alzheimer's," said Robert Nagele, PhD, founder of Durin Technologies, Inc., and a professor at the UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine.
"Because this method requires only a small blood sample, it avoids the expense and patient discomfort of other proposed Alzheimer's diagnostic tests such as those involving neuroimaging techniques, more invasive procedures and hospitalization. Discovery of other disease-specific autoantibody signatures could also conceivably lead to the development of successful and relatively inexpensive diagnostics for a wide variety of diseases," he added.
The study has been published online in PLoS ONE.