Early Test for Alzheimer’s

Preliminary new blood test to detect Alzheimer’s disease uncovered

February 11, 2011

UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists have helped develop a novel technology to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease from blood samples long before symptoms appear.

This preliminary technology, which uses synthetic molecules to seek out and identify disease-specific antibodies, also could be used eventually in the development of specific  for a range of other hard-to-diagnose diseases and conditions, including Parkinson’s disease and immune system-related diseases like  and , the researchers predict.

“One of the great challenges in treating patients with  is that once symptoms appear, it’s too late. You can’t un-ring the bell,” said Dr. Dwight German, professor of  and an author of the paper published in the Jan. 7 edition of Cell. “If we can find a way to detect the disease in its earliest stages – before cognitive impairment begins – we might be able to stop it in its tracks by developing new treatment strategies.”

Because patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) exhibit immune system activation and neurodegeneration in several brain regions, researchers in the study hypothesized that there may be numerous antibodies in the serum of affected patients that are specific to the disease and can serve as a biomarker.

Antigens – substances such as protein from a virus or bacteria that triggers an immune response – traditionally have been necessary for the discovery of antibody biomarkers. It has been impossible previously to identify an antibody (a type of targeted immune molecule) without first knowing the antigen that triggers its production.

The new study, however, challenges conventional wisdom and uses synthetic molecules (peptoids) rather than antigens to successfully detect signs of disease in patients’ . These peptoids have many advantages; they can be modified easily and can be produced quickly in relatively large amounts at lower cost.  Read more in Physorg…

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About carlos

I'm a curious person, of reasonable intellect, "on the beach" (retired) and enjoying my interest in anthropology, language, civil rights, and a few other areas. I've been a hippie/student/aerospace tech writer in the '60s, a witness to the Portuguese revolution in the ‘70s, a defense test engineer and witness to the Guatemalan genocide in the '80s, and a network engineer for an ISP in the '90s. Now I’m a student and commentator until my time is up. I've spent time under the spell of the Mesoamerican pyramids and the sweet sound of the Portuguese language. I've lived in Europe, traveled in Brazil, Central America, Iceland, New Zealand, and other places. My preferred mode of travel is with a backpack and I eat (almost) anything local. Somehow, many of the countries I have been to have had civil unrest (for which I was not responsible). I'm open to correspond with anyone who might share my liberal, humanist interests. I live in San Buenaventura, California.
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