Aethlon Medical and its diagnostic subsidiary Exosome Sciences (ESI) have entered into a clinical collaboration with the Boston University (BU) CTE Center to advance a blood-based diagnostic candidate to detect chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
CTE has been found at autopsy in former National Football League (NFL) players and it affects boxers, football players and other athletes who have a history of repetitive brain trauma.
It is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder and can only be diagnosed through postmortem autopsy.
Aethlon develops targeted therapeutic devices to address infectious disease, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders, while its subsidiary ESI is focused on developing exosome-based solutions to diagnose and monitor cancer and neurodegenerative disorders.
Earlier this year, ESI researchers successfully isolated exosome-based biomarkers transporting tau protein across the blood-brain barrier and into the circulatory system.
According to the company, the hallmark of CTE is an excess of accumulation of tau in the brain.
BU CTE Center director of Clinical Research Dr Robert Stern is leading a study, in which researchers from ESI are assessing and defining exosome and exosomal tau populations in blood samples collected from participants enrolled in the DETECT study, which is the first research project on CTE ever.
The Diagnosing and Evaluating Traumatic Encephalopathy Using Clinical Tests (DETECT) trial is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with support from the National Institute of Neurologic Diseases and Stroke (NINDS), the National Institute on Aging (NIA), and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
The study is aimed at developing methods, including blood-based tests that could diagnose CTE during life.
Former NFL players aged 40-69 years and same-age control athletes who played non-contact sports were enrolled in the study.
Aethlon Medical CEO and ESI executive chairman Jim Joyce said: "Our colleagues at the CTE Center are premier thought leaders in the CTE field and have been instrumental in changing how the NFL and other high-risk sports respond to head trauma.
"We are truly grateful for the opportunity to establish a blood-based test that could identify CTE in living individuals."
Aethlon's lead product is the Aethlon Hemopurifier that selectively targets the rapid elimination of circulating viruses and tumour-secreted exosomes that promote cancer progression.
Image: Aethlon Hemopurifier. Photo: courtesy of PRNewsFoto/Aethlon Medical, Inc.