The most recent Alzheimer’s Association International Conference July 28-31, 2020 released news of a blood test that detects abnormal forms of tau protein (one of which is p-tau 217) one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) besides the amyloid plaques that accumulate in the brain. To date the only way to pick up tau levels was by testing spinal fluid or looking at a PET scan of the brain for amyloid plaque damage. This plasma test correlates well with the increase of amyloid in the brain as well, but detects it’s presence years before the damage to the brain shows outward signs.
This new test is a few years away from being available to the general public, but once perfected has a wide range of utilization once on the market. It will be a boon to researchers because they will be able to more accurately narrow their testing subjects to those who show signs of the tau protein way before the tell tale signs of Alzheimer’s are seen outwardly in the adult. It will allow them to assess various approaches that would help people to live longer with the disease, lower the tau impact on the brain, and possibly stabilize their course.
Research teams included Oskar Hansson, M.D.,Ph.D., from Lund University, Sweden in coordination with Sebastian Palmqvist, M.D., Ph.D., and Shorena Janelidze, Ph.D. from Lund, Eric Riemann, M.D., from Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, AZ USA, Jeffrey Dage, Ph.D., from Eli Lilly, USA, and other colleagues. The results were presented by the Lund University researchers.