Serum biochemical signature is believed to predict progression to AD months or years before symptoms appear.

Finland’s VTT Technical Research Centre launched a collaboration with GE Healthcare that is intended to validate a biomarker for Alzheimer disease in a large patient cohort, as well as to discover additional biomarker candidates.

The biomarker is a serum biochemical signature that is believed to predict progression to Alzheimer disease (AD) months or even years before the disorder’s first symptoms occur. VTT and GE Healthcare hope to develop the biomarker into a clinical assay.

VTT said it will apply serum metabolite profiling to validate the recently discovered biochemical signature, as well as to discover novel biomarker candidates predictive of progression to Alzheimer disease. VTT’s work comes as part of a “biosignatures initiative” alliance that GE Healthcare entered into with Janssen Pharmaceutica in 2010, with the goal of developing diagnostic biosignatures for presymptomatic identification of AD.

“We believe that integration of metabolomics into the GE’s and Janssen’s biosignatures initiative will lead to better tools for early detection of AD and may also lead to better therapeutic options,” says VTT research professor Matej Orešic, Ph.D.

In December, Dr. Orešic and Hilkka Soininen, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Eastern Finland led research teams that published results in in Translational Psychiatry suggesting that Alzheimer disease is preceded by a molecular signature indicative of hypoxia and upregulated pentose phosphate pathway. That indicator, the teams concluded, can be analyzed as a simple biochemical assay from a serum sample months or even years before the first symptoms of the disease occur.

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