In a field full of failures, a new blood test to predict Alzheimer’s aims to give drug makers a needed tool

first_img What’s included? Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. In a field full of failures, a new blood test to predict Alzheimer’s aims to give drug makers a needed tool Sharon Begley About the Author Reprints In the Lab Log In | Learn More What is it? GET STARTED @sxbegle center_img Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free! GET STARTED By Sharon Begley Feb. 6, 2019 Reprints STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. Adobe It would seem difficult to put up worse numbers than experimental Alzheimer’s drugs, 99 percent of which have failed in clinical trials since 2002. But another corner of Alzheimer’s research has managed it: blood tests to either diagnose the disease in asymptomatic patients or predict which healthy people will develop it years in the future. Although you wouldn’t know it from frequent headlines proclaiming, “Blood test can predict Alzheimer’s,” the percentage of tests that looked promising in a (usually small) study but eventually fell flat is … 100 percent.Despite the two dozen such failures, scientists aren’t giving up. On Wednesday, researchers in Europe and Australia reported in the journal Science Advances that blood levels of 10 proteins did a pretty good job of identifying which cognitively unimpaired people had high enough brain levels of beta-amyloid, a marker of the disease, to be classified as having preclinical (meaning, without symptoms) Alzheimer’s. The test isn’t accurate enough to make diagnoses as part of medical care, its creators say, but if it’s validated in additional studies, it could give drug companies a desperately needed tool: a cheap, easy way to identify preclinical Alzheimer’s. Senior Writer, Science and Discovery (1956-2021) Sharon covered science and discovery. Tags dementiadiagnosticsneurologySTAT+ [email protected] last_img

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