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Blood test to detect Alzheimer's

10th January 2011

A new study released in the United States has found a new way to use a blood test for Alzheimer's disease, which could also be used to detect other diseases if proven.

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Researcher Thomas Kodadek, writing in the journal Cell, said that if the new test worked for Alzheimer's disease, it could also prove to be a general platform that may work for many different diseases.

Kodadek, of The Scripps Research Institute, said his findings should now be handed over to disease experts to tackle diseases where early diagnosis is crucial.

Around five million people in the US alone live with Alzheimer's which is the most common form of dementia.

While the wider public might not see much use in a test for it, pharmaceutical companies could use the information to better locate patients for clinical trials.

The test uses molecules called peptoids to detect antibodies in the bloodstream of animals and patients with specific diseases.

Using the technique, Kodadek managed to isolate more immunoglobulin in mice who were suffering from a condition similar to multiple sclerosis than from healthy mice.

He then moved on test six human patients with Alzheimer's, six with Parkinson's and six healthy people.

He isolated three peptoids that captured levels of immunoglobulin in the Alzheimer's patients that was three times higher than the Parkinson's or the control group.

Health experts hailed his study as a breakthrough.

James Anderson of the National Institutes of Health which helped fund the study said that Kodadek had come up with a new way of identifying antibody biomarkers of human disease.

The method bypassed the conventional route of identifying natural antigens or chemicals which mimic them, Anderson said.

He said the study suggested great potential for using this approach for a variety of significant human diseases, including the swift and deadly pancreatic cancer.

The test might identify such cancers years before they can currently be detected.

Early detection of such cancers could lead to the development of vaccines against them.


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