NEW YORK, July 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- New data presented today by an international research team at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) and published simultaneously in JAMA reports that a newly validated, highly accurate test that measures blood levels of p-tau217 can accurately distinguish Alzheimer's from other neurodegenerative disorders.
The researchers also found that the level of p-tau217 in blood collected during life was an accurate predictor of tau brain changes seen in brain tissue after death. The increasing blood tau levels can be detected in some patients up to 20 years before the average age of onset of early cognitive declines that signal Alzheimer's.
"This particular tau blood test may come to market as early as next year and it will be a real game changer, advancing clinical care and research," said Howard Fillit, MD, Founding Executive Director and Chief Science Officer of the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation. "This is one of the breakthroughs we've been waiting for—a simple and accessible blood test that can diagnose Alzheimer's better than the more costly and invasive methods currently available, like PET scans and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers. The tau blood test could be the 'cholesterol' of Alzheimer's disease."
The ADDF is encouraged by this advancement, as it has long said the path to finding effective Alzheimer's treatments starts with better ways to diagnose patients. This belief was the catalyst for the ADDF's launch of the Diagnostics Accelerator (DxA), an initiative aimed at fast tracking the development of reliable and accessible biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.
With nearly $16 million invested in 19 research projects to date, DxA funding includes several programs for new blood tests, including for tau, amyloid, and other novel targets – such as microRNAs – that will aid in early Alzheimer's diagnosis and the development of new therapeutics.
"Today's news about the tau blood test is truly groundbreaking, but it's just the beginning," said Dr. Fillit. "The complexity of Alzheimer's means we will need therapies focused on many novel targets in addition to amyloid and tau. As this moves toward clinical trials, it is vital that we have novel, easy and accessible biomarkers available to measure their effectiveness."
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SOURCE Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation