A new study have identified which blood tests are best at detecting Alzheimerā€™s disease during the earliest stages, and also other another blood test that are is optimal for detecting relevant treatment effects. These findings will speed up the development of new therapies that can slow down the disease progression.

The Swedish study lead by Professor Oskar Hanssson, Lund University, and Professor Kaj Blennow, University of Gothenburg, looked at several newly development blood tests for Alzheimerā€™s disease pathology and neurodegeneration in 575 individuals from the BioFINDER cohort. In 242 participants, the plasma tests were repeated for up to 6 years, along with cognitive testing and magnetic resonance imaging.

The study, published in Nature Medicine, revealed that multiple blood biomarkers, namely phospho-tau231 and AĪ²42/40, were sufficient in identifying Alzheimerā€™s disease pathology, even in participants with no symptoms and thus, could be used as strategy to select the correct individuals for novel disease modifying trials ā€“ a task which currently requires expensive molecular imaging technique or lumbar punctures.

Yet, over the 6 years tested, it was shown that only phospho-tau217 was related to Alzheimerā€™s disease pathology, a decline in cognitive performance and increased brain atrophy typical of incipient Alzheimerā€™s. Therefore, phospho-tau217 will be an ideal marker for detection of relevant disease-modifying effects of novel interventions. The study has large implications on the use of blood test in the recently reported anti-AĪ² trials.

ā€œDistinctive blood tests may be optimal for the identification of Alzheimerā€™s pathology or for monitoring of disease progression and therefore have different roles in clinical trialsā€ first author of the research study Dr. Nicholas Ashton from the University of Gothenburg explained.

ā€œThis study has shown that phospho-tau217 is uniquely placed to be an optimal test for monitoring patients in both a clinical setting and a trial setting because of its longitudinal association with Alzheimerā€™s developmentā€.

An important aspect of this study was that p-tau217 was able to monitor such changes in pathology and cognition at very early stages of the disease process. This finding was replicated in an independent cohort from the USA, Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP).

ā€œBesides improving the design of clinical trials, the novel blood tests will revolutionize the diagnoses of early stages of Alzheimerā€™s diseaseā€, says Oskar Hansson. ā€œFurther, phospoho-tau217 might be used in the future to monitor the response in individual patients to disease-modifying therapies in clinical practice.

Title: Differential roles of plasma p-tau217, p-tau231 and AĪ²42/40 for trial selection and 2 longitudinal disease monitoring in early Alzheimerā€™s disease, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-022-02074-w

More about The Swedish BIOFINDER Study, www.biofinder.se


Nicholas Ashton, assistant professor at department of neurochemistry, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, phone +44Ā 748Ā 026Ā 87Ā 66, email nicholas.ashton@gu.se

Kaj Blennow, professor at department of neurochemistry, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, phone +46Ā 761Ā 07Ā 38Ā 35,Ā email kaj.blennow@neuro.gu.se

Oskar Hansson, professor in neurology at the clinical memory research unit, Lund University, Sweden, phone +46 72 226 7745, email oskar.hansson@med.lu.se

Image: Nicholas Ashton, Kaj Blennow and Oskar Hansson (photo: University of Gothenburg, Lund University)

Press Contact: Margareta G. Kubista, phone +46 705 30 19 80, press@sahlgrenska.gu.se