Diagnostics, neurology

DiaGenic developing blood test for Alzheimer’s disease

11 June 2007

Washington, USA. Norwegian biotech company DiaGenic ASA is developing a blood-based diagnostic test for Alzheimer’s  disease.

Using peripheral blood as an easy-to-collect sample, the test detects a unique gene expression profile or 'gene signature' that identifies Alzheimer’s disease. DiaGenic expects the test will be available to researchers in early 2008.

The results of initial trials of the test were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Prevention of Dementia in Washington June 9-12, 2007.

"The development of a blood-based diagnostic test has been one of the major goals of Alzheimer disease research. The new blood signature test of DiaGenic is an important forward step in the right direction. The test is also very timely, as several pharmaceutical companies are in the process of developing the next generation of therapeutic drugs which can inhibit the underlying pathology of Alzheimer disease.

"The test will require validation in a large number of Alzheimer and control patients, and at multiple centres, to become useful,” said leading Alzheimer’s researchers, Professors Khalid Iqbal and Bengt Winblad.

Researchers combed through many Alzheimer’s patient samples and several thousand genes to identify a common gene signature for the disease. The most informative genes isolated in these discovery phase studies were then used to design and develop customized test arrays.

DiaGenic says it aims to make the test available as a research tool in early 2008, which should accelerate the process of clinical validation and commercial introduction. Recently the FDA approved the first diagnostic test based on this type of technology for breast cancer, which paves the way for its use in other diseases.

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