A new biochip-based blood test can help identify patients at a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease just as accurately as the standard molecular diagnostic test. Researchers from Randox Laboratories presented study results Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry.
The biochip, which allows multiple tests to be conducted on one blood sample, works by detecting a protein produced by a variant of the gene apolipoprotein (ApoE4) that is linked to an elevated risk of developing Alzheimer’s. A patient who inherits the ApoE4 gene from one parent he or she is three times more likely to develop the disease, while one who inherits it from both parents is 8 to 12 times more likely to develop it, according to a statement.
The study pitted the biochip test against the standard molecular diagnostic test. The Randox team worked with researchers from the Medical University of Vienna to analyze 384 results using both methods. The results were “in 100% agreement,” they said in the statement.
While the tests are equally effective, the biochip test is cheaper, allows physicians to run multiple tests at once and delivers results within three hours.
"Pairing this test with medical and family history for risk of Alzheimer's disease has the real potential to advance personalized medicine," said Emma Harte, a research scientist at Randox, in the statement. "This fast, accurate testing will allow doctors and patients to make more informed choices earlier to potentially slow the possible progress of Alzheimer's."
Randox is not the only company seeking an alternative diagnostic for the neurodegenerative disease. In June, Sacramento-based NeuroVision raised $10 million to advance its retinal imaging technology for the early detection of Alzheimer’s, while New York’s Cerebral Assessment Systems is developing a video game-like tool to screen for early signs of the disease.
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