A new blood test to diagnose Alzheimer's disease could be available in the next five years.
National University of Singapore (NUS) researchers have developed a test called amplified plasmonic exosome (Apex) A molecule that indicates early-onset Alzheimer's disease, the leading cause of severe dementia.
The test is the first of its kind in the world and could potentially be used to diagnose the disease before clinical symptoms occur, said Drs. Shao Huilin from the NUS Institute for Health Innovation and Technology (NUS iHealthtech).
Dr. Shao, who led the biennial study, said, "There is currently no good blood-based method to effectively screen and monitor Alzheimer's disease, and new tests have either low accuracy or low sensitivity."
Alzheimer's disease is usually recognized late. Early detection could improve the success rate of disease modifying therapies.
The blood test costs $ 30, less than 1
Other alternatives, such as clinical assessment and neuropsychological assessment, are subjective and only effective for detecting late-stage Alzheimer's disease, while invasive and painful lumbar punctures are required for lumbar spine examination.
The team of 12 researchers conducted a clinical study of 84 patients, including patients with diagnosed Alzheimer's disease, patients with mild cognitive impairment and a control group of healthy subjects and patients with other diagnosed diseases such as vascular dementia.
Vascular dementia is one of the second most common dementias after Alzheimer's disease. It results from a disturbed blood circulation of the brain and can be caused by a stroke.
PET scans and the apex blood test were performed on all participants.
Dr. Apex System was able to accurately identify patients with Alzheimer's and cognitive impairment.
She added that the test also differentiated her from healthy individuals and those with other neurodegenerative diseases.
The team is in talks with potential industry partners to bring the product to market, she said.