Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have announced a new blood test that is capable of differentiating neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) from other dementias.
Along with their industry partners, the scientists created a new antibody that acts only on tau isoforms that originate from the brain.
With this breakthrough, the researchers were able to develop their blood test, which can selectively measure non-phosphorylated tau that has entered the bloodstream from the brain.
The brain-derived tau (BD-tau) assay showed stable technical performances in blood. There were also strong correlations found clinically between BD-tau levels in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
This indicated that the test was measuring brain tau.
In partnership with colleagues in Italy, US and Sweden, the researchers measured BD-tau levels in blood samples from 609 patients.
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Plasma BD-tau was demonstrated to be a neurodegeneration marker that differentiated AD from non-Alzheimer dementias in a group of individuals who had received autopsy-verified diagnoses.
Plasma BD-tau specificity to the disease was further demonstrated as it correlated with amyloid plaque and tau tangle loads in these individuals’ brains, while another blood-based biomarker, neurofilament light (NfL), did not.
The researchers investigated two separate memory clinic cohorts to demonstrate the clinical utility of these data.
Participants in these cohorts were diagnosed with AD, other dementias or controls.
Plasma BD-tau again showed a high accuracy to differentiate the disease from other dementias.
The scientists found that the plasma BD-tau blood-based biomarker could distinguish between AD and other dementia types as well as reflect the extent of neurodegeneration in AD patients.