Scientists in Spain have identified blood-based biomarkers from the Amyloid-β (Aβ) pool that are associated with an increased likelihood of mild cognitive impairment, like that seen in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Manuel Sarasa, Ph.D., CSO and founder of Zaragoza-based Araclon Biotech, and his colleagues have developed and are optimizing two blood tests—ELISA sandwich colorimetric tests dubbed ABtest40 and ABtest42— to measure low-abundance Aβ biomarkers. Writing in a Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease preprint, Dr. Sarasa et al., present data to suggest that these biomarkers may be useful tools for screening those at increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

“By measuring three different levels in blood, free in plasma, bound to plasma components, and bound to blood cells, for two of the most significant peptides, Aβ40 and Aβ42, then comparing the ratios of those levels to established diagnoses methods, we have been able to consistently show a relationship between Aβ levels and the disease,” Dr. Sarasa said in a statement.

“This means that we—and by ‘we’ I mean Alzheimer’s researchers in general—are that much closer to having a reliable, minimally invasive biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease,” he added. “The importance of this is that studies could recruit earlier and at much less expense. interventional therapies can be tested in earlier stages of the disease, and once an effective therapy is found, this type of test will be well suited to population screening in the public health sector.”

The study, “Several direct and calculated biomarkers from the Amyloid-β pool in blood are associated with an increased likelihood of suffering from mild cognitive impairment,” is slated to appear in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in July.

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