Edition 6

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16 Apr 2024

A blood test for Alzheimer’s disease: a five-year project begins

A blood test for Alzheimer’s disease: a five-year project begins

A large-scale trial led by University College London and the University of Oxford is set to offer blood tests for dementia to around 5,000 volunteers across the UK. The aim is to facilitate early diagnosis and access to care, support, and potential new drug treatments for Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Currently, many dementia patients go undiagnosed at an early enough stage, leading to uncertainty and lack of appropriate care. Only a small percentage undergo costly 'gold standard' tests like PET brain scans or spinal lumbar punctures. The trial seeks to explore the efficacy of various blood tests, which could be more affordable and accessible for early detection of the disease. 

The study will recruit volunteers from NHS memory clinics, including diverse demographics that may usually be excluded from research. One particular focus is on the biomarker p-tau217, which may indicate levels of amyloid and tau in the brain, crucial early indicators of Alzheimer's disease. The potential for blood tests to improve diagnosis rates, particularly in early-stage dementia, remains the central objective, the significance of which lies in enabling timely access to care and emerging treatments. Two drugs, lecanemab and donanemab, have shown promise in slowing Alzheimer's progression in trials. However, their approval and accessibility are reliant on regulatory processes and cost-effectiveness assessments by health bodies. 

The Blood Biomarker Challenge, funded by various organisations including Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's Research UK, underscores the pressing need to address dementia, a significant health challenge in the UK. The potential of blood tests to revolutionise dementia diagnosis parallels advancements in other disease areas, promising a transformative impact on patient care and outcomes. 


Read the full article here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-68726703  

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