Klaus Gerwert at Ruhr-Universität Bochum has developed a blood + CSF test that he claims can detect Alzheimer’s disease 8 years before the onset of symptoms. The goal is early stage therapy to achieve better results than current treatment protocols.
To reduce false positive results from the initial study, the researchers first used a blood test to identify high-risk individuals. They added a dementia-specific biomarker, tau protein, for participants shown to have Alzheimer’s in the first step. The second analysis was carried out in cerebrospinal fluid extracted from the spinal cord — an invasive procedure that the team is working to eliminate from the next phase of research. If both biomarkers were positive, it was determined that the presence of Alzheimer’s disease was highly likely.
According to Gerwert: “Through the combination of both analyses, 87 of 100 Alzheimer’s patients were correctly identified in our study. And we reduced the number of false positive diagnoses in healthy subjects to 3 of 100. Now, new clinical studies with test participants in very early stages of the disease can be launched. Recently, two major promising studies have failed, especially Crenezumab and Aducanumab – not least because it had probably already been too late by the time therapy was taken up. The new test opens up a new therapy window.”
Researcher Andreas Nabers added: “Once amyloid plaques have formed, it seems that the disease can no longer be treated. We are now conducting in-depth research to detect the second biomarker, namely tau protein, in the blood, in order to supply a solely blood-based test in future.”