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ART-funded Researchers Find Biomarker Associated with Alzheimer’s

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Research led by the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) King’s College London (KCL) and part-funded by the Alzheimer’s Research Trust has found that certain protein levels in blood could be an early marker of Alzheimer’s.

The international team of scientists also found that higher levels of the protein, called clusterin, were related to more severe and rapid memory loss and greater brain shrinkage. Their findings could lead to development of a blood test to help identify who would benefit from early treatment for Alzheimer’s and also whether treatments were working to delay or prevent brain damage.

Researchers have been focusing on developing an inexpensive blood test that will accurately reflect the damage detected by brain scans in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, such as shrinkage in certain regions and accumulations of a hallmark protein of Alzheimer’s called beta amyloid.

The head of the research group, Professor Simon Lovestone, scientific adviser to the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, said:
“Our results add further evidence to the role of clusterin in Alzheimer’s and though not a test in itself we hope these findings will be taken up by other research groups and, if confirmed independently, will help us conclude that clusterin levels in blood are truly a marker of [the] disease in patients.”

Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust (ART), said:
“A simple blood test for detecting Alzheimer’s has long been the holy grail for dementia researchers and these new findings edge us closer in the search. Early detection of dementia will be crucial to ensuring the treatments of the future can be given swiftly and when most effective.

“Research is the only answer to dementia, yet our scientists remain in desperate need of funds. Investing in research now will bring the treatment breakthroughs we so urgently need in a world where 35 million live with this devastating condition.”

Source: Alzheimer’s Research Trust