A blood test that identifies changes in 18 proteins predicts the development of Alzheimer’s with 91% accuracy two to six years in advance of onset, according to an international group of investigators.
Satoris, a company founded by three scientists involved in the study, plans to develop a Alzheimer’s blood test for use in research labs. If the tool is confirmed as reliable, the firm says that it will eventually develop the test as a clinical diagnostic.
Reaching out to clinics in the U.S., Sweden, Poland, and Italy, the research consortium obtained 259 archived blood samples from a range of individuals including those with no abnormal symptoms, mild cognitive impairment, and advanced Alzheimer’s. Starting with 120 communication proteins, they developed an analysis procedure to recognize if there was a pattern seen in Alzheimer’s that could be compared with that of people without the condition.
The researchers discovered that as few as 18 proteins were sufficient to identify an Alzheimer’s-specific pattern. All are reportedly involved in the production of new blood cells, immune processes, and apoptosis.
Among blood samples from 92 individuals, the protein analysis matched the clinical diagnosis 90% of the time.
They then tried to predict the development of Alzheimer’s among 47 people with mild cognitive impairment who had been followed from two to six years. The test was done on blood samples taken several years earlier. The results flagged 91% of the patients who developed Alzheimer’s by the end of the follow-up time as diagnosed by conventional methods.
The study included researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, University of Göteborg, Wroclaw Medical University, Oregon Health Sciences University, Lund University, Sun Health Research Institute, and University of Genoa.
The study appears in the October 15 advance online edition of Nature Medicine.