In a recent study, Swedish researchers have developed a blood test that accurately detectsAmyloid beta peptides levels in all stages of Alzheimer's disease. According to their own statement, the scientists achieve "a precision that makes the test usable worldwide for everyday clinical use".
Dr. Oskar Hansson from Lund University and Dr. Niklas Mattson from Skåne University Hospital, who have both been researching Alzheimer's blood tests in recent years, took part in a new study led by Dr. Sebastian Palmqvist to investigate the disease.
The focus was on the efficiency of "fully automated immunoassays" in the detection of amyloid beta peptides (also known as Aβ or Abeta). Blood samples from patients with Alzheimer's disease, mild cognitive impairment and people without neuronal diseases were used for the study.
Dr. Palmqvist's team conducted two cross-sectional studies to explore the accuracy of the blood test. The researchers worked with 842 participants, of whom 265 had mild cognitive impairments. In addition, the researchers drew on an independent cohort of 237 participants, of whom 109 showed slight cognitive impairment and 94 were already suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
The study revealed that the test "highly accurately predicted cerebral Aβ levels in all stages of Alzheimer's disease." Dr. Hansson notes: "This gives us a precision that makes the test suitable for clinical use worldwide." Dr. Palmqvist adds: "Previous studies dealing with blood tests for the detection of Alzheimer's disease did not show particularly clear results. Only slight differences between Alzheimer's patients and healthy elderly people could be detected."
The researchers hope that the test will soon help to investigate potential participants in clinical drug trials and to identify Alzheimer's earlier and more accurately. The test should provide improved access to treatment and a better outlook on one's own health. According to the researchers, the test would minimize the number of unnecessary lumbar punctures and PET scans and thus reduce examination costs by 30 to 50 percent.
Dr. Palmqvist adds: "The next step is to perform the test on a larger research group where the number of underlying Alzheimer's diseases is lower to confirm the efficacy of our method. Very soon we will be testing the technique in an extensive case study in a clinical environment. Hopefully, this will confirm our results."
Palmqvist S, Janelidze S, Stomrud E, et al. Performance of Fully Automated Plasma Assays as Screening Tests for Alzheimer's Disease-Related β-Amyloid Status. JAMA Neurol. Published online June 24, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2019.1632