HealthDay News — A major advance has been made in creating a blood test to predict when at-risk people will develop Alzheimer’s disease, according to researchers.
Simon Lovestone, a professor of translational neuroscience at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues have identified 10 proteins that can predict with 87% accuracy whether someone with mild cognitive impairment will develop Alzheimer’s disease within a year.
The study, which included more than 1,000 people, was published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and will be used to improve research for new drugs to treat Alzheimer’s.
“We want to be able to identify people to enter clinical trials earlier than they currently do and that’s really what we’ve been aiming at,” Lovestone told BBC News.
The researchers took blood samples from 1,148 people, 476 of whom had Alzheimer’s, 220 with memory problems, and a control group of 452 without any signs of dementia. They determined 16 proteins were associated with brain shrinkage and memory loss and 10 of those could predict whether someone would develop Alzheimer’s.
The test may eventually be available for doctors to use on patients. “Having a protein test is really a major step forwards,” Ian Pike, PhD, chief operating officer at Proteome Sciences in Cobham, United Kingdom, told BBC News. “[It] will take several years and need many more patients before we can be certain these tests are suitable for routine clinical use; that process can start fairly quickly now.”
However, it’s unlikely that routine testing would be recommended until effective treatments are available.