BY: SINEAD MULHERN
New research can help predict Alzheimer’s disease in a patient ten years before a clinical diagnosis. By predicting the disease this early, people can start treating it well ahead of time.
In the study, led by Dimitrios Kapogiannis, scientists took blood samples from 174 people – 20 cognitively normal adults with diabetes, 84 healthy adults and 70 people with Alzheimer’s. They were able to accurately predict each time whether the sample came from an Alzheimer’s patient. However they will be increasing the size of the study to ensure its credibility.
NanoSomiX, A California-based biotech company, is sponsoring the research.
After taking the blood samples, the researchers isolated what are called exosomes. Exosomes are little lipid sacs that are formulated inside a cell. Think of these sacs as messengers between cells and other body tissues. Inside these pouches is where information and other signals are stored. They’re formulated inside of a cell and then fuse to the cell membrane before being expelled outside the wall. They are then off to carry their information to other parts of the body.
During the study, the researchers isolated exosomes that were formed inside cells of the brain and contained one specific protein— IRS-1. What they found is that people with Alzheimer’s have higher amounts of inactive forms of the protein and overall, they have less IRS-1 than regular healthy adults. This is how they were able to identify 100 percent of the time whether the sample came from someone with the disease.
It’s been a good year for Alzheimer’s research
Two other tests came out this year advancing Alzheimer’s research. One of the tests can find this form of dementia three years ahead of a clinical diagnosis (with 90 percent accuracy) by examining 10 fats in the blood. The other, with 87 percent accuracy, looks at 10 proteins in the blood sample and will predict Alzheimer’s a year ahead of diagnosis.
In terms of detecting Alzheimer’s ahead of time though, Kapogiannis’s study could be ground-breaking.