Sign in: Staff/Students
Professor Jerry Turnbull is Johnston Professor of Biochemistry in the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Integrative Biology
“A key bottleneck in the development of treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the urgent need for much earlier diagnosis, before memory loss is evident and the disease becomes entrenched. Recent research has discovered just such a panel of “biomarkers” in blood samples that allow diagnosis of AD up to 3 years before clinical signs are normally observed.
“The research, reported in the journal Nature Medicine, was led by Prof Federoff from the Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington DC in USA. The team discovered that measuring a panel of 10 specialised fats called phospholipids in blood samples provided a test with 90% accuracy to predict the onset of mild cognitive impairment or AD up to 3 years before clinical symptoms.
Cost effective diagnostic tool
“It is thought that these phospholipids, which are important constituents of cell membranes, reflect changes in the integrity of membranes which occur during early neurodegeneration. Blood biomarkers are likely to provide one of the most cost effective diagnostic tools, but have so far proved elusive. Other methods are either expensive (such as brain imaging) or invasive for the patient (such as obtaining spinal fluid samples).
“This enzyme is responsible for generating the small peoptides that accumulate in plaques in the brains of people affected with AD, and is a key target for treating an underlying cause of the disease. Successful development of such drugs could result in disease-modifying therapies which could slow or even halt disease progression.
“However, the development of AD proceeds silently for up to a decade or more before any symptoms emerge, and some drug trials may well have failed due to being tested too late in the disease process to produce real benefit for the patients. So it is now clear that treatment early in the disease process will be critical for the most effective outcomes.
Testing pre-symptomatic treatment
“The blood phospholipid changes discovered by Federoff and his colleagues may provide a sensitive measure of early neurodegenerative events, and this could provide an initial approach for selecting groups of patients suitable for testing pre-symptomatic treatment with new disease-modifying drugs.
Further research is clearly needed to confirm the initial work of the group. The phospholipids they have revealed may provide clues for extending biomarker panels to further improve the accuracy of testing. They might also permit even earlier diagnosis of AD beyond the current 3 year lead time they describe. Extending their study to a much larger group of patients is the key next step.
“If the data holds up this should lead to new opportunities for big advances in early treatment trials.”
You must be logged in to post a comment.
All recent news
Scouse Science Podcast – The Leadership Episode: Today at 1pm
Omicron leads to less severe disease in mice, study finds
Stress-busting tips for exam and assessment time
Liverpool announced as first UK university to join AEgIS experiment at CERN
Be amongst The Tung Auditorium’s first public audience as Lunchtime Concerts Spring series opens
Is the #Covid19 pandemic entering its endgame?
"We're almost there, it is now the beginning of the end, at least in the UK," suggests @LivUni_IVES Prof Julian Hiscox.
Read the full BBC article here ⬇️ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-59970281
Exciting news! You can now book your place in the first public audience to experience live music in the The Tung Auditorium, as the Spring season of Lunchtime Concerts opens in our new state-of-the-art music venue. 🎶🎻🎹
Find out more: https://news.liverpool.ac.uk/2022/01/17/be-amongst-the-tung-auditorium-first-public-audience-as-lunchtime-concert-spring-series-opens/
The University of Liverpool is the first UK university to join the #AEgIS antimatter experiment at @CERN
Find out more ➡️https://bit.ly/3riEJUY