Research carried out in over 1000 people has led to the discovery of a set of proteins in the blood which predict the start of Dementia with 87% accuracy. Scientists believe that this could eventually lead to a blood test for Alzheimer's and improve clinical trials for Alzheimer’s drugs.
Alzheimers is the most common form of Dementia most commonly affecting people over the age of 65. There are 44 million people worldwide currently living with Dementia, however this number is predicted to rise to 135 million in 2050. Sadly there are no effective drug treatments for Alzheimer’s. Researchers believe this is because patients receive treatment too late, however the symptoms of Alzheimer’s don’t usually appear for around 10 years after disease onset making it very hard to detect.
“A simple blood test could help us identify patients at a much earlier stage to take part in new trials and hopefully develop treatments which could prevent the progression of the disease,” said Lead Researcher Simon Lovestone in a news-release. “The next step will be to validate our findings in further sample sets, to see if we can improve accuracy and reduce the risk of misdiagnosis, and to develop a reliable test suitable to be used by doctors.”
A co-author of the study has said that the team are currently looking for commercial partners in order to combine their findings into a blood test for the global market.
Whilst this news offers hope to those at risk of Alzheimers unfortunately it will be some time before this breakthrough makes it into day to day use as extensive clinical trials still need to be completed.