Penn researchers say they now can detect Alzheimer’s at earliest stage - Technical.ly Philly

Mar. 18, 2009 8:30 am

Penn researchers say they now can detect Alzheimer’s at earliest stage

Fighting Alzheimer’s may get easier because of research from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine. Researchers there have announced that they have validated a test capable of confirming the incurable, degenerative disease at its earliest stages, increasing the opportunity to find methods to slow or eventually stop the effects, according to a university press […]

Fighting Alzheimer’s may get easier because of research from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine.

Researchers there have announced that they have validated a test capable of confirming the incurable, degenerative disease at its earliest stages, increasing the opportunity to find methods to slow or eventually stop the effects, according to a university press release.

The test measures cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of  amyloid beta42 peptide and tau protein, two of the disease’s trademarks.

“With this test, we can reliably detect and track the progression of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Leslie M. Shaw, who led the research. “Validated biomarker tests will improve the focus of Alzheimer’s clinical trials, enrolling patients at earlier stages of the disease to find treatments that can at least delay –and perhaps stop– neurodegeneration. In addition, prevention trials can test methods to delay or block mild cognitive impairment from converting to full-blown Alzheimer’s.”

The test can confirm whether a patient will suffer from the disease before dementia and most irreversible damage occurs. The researchers say the findings may help in the search of effective therapies capable of stopping the disease, which affects some four million Americans.

Further validation studies are underway at the Ivy League school in University City.

In related news yesterday, another Penn research team announced that they had identified a new protein important in the breast cancer gene’s role in DNA repair.

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