New Biochip-Based Blood Test Detects Increased Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease

Assay looks for apolipoprotein gene variation

Researchers have reported the results from a new blood test to help identify which patients are at an elevated risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The findings, presented at the 68th American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in Philadelphia, showed that the biochip test, which allows multiple tests to be run on one blood sample, was as accurate as existing molecular tests that analyze DNA.

The new test detects the presence of a protein in the blood produced by a specific variation of the apolipoprotein gene (ApoE4), which is associated with an increased risk of developing AD. The apolipoprotein gene is inherited from each parent, and when a patient inherits the ApoE4 variant from one parent, he or she has a three times greater risk of developing AD, whereas a patient who inherits ApoE4 from both parents is eight to 12 times more likely to develop the disease.

To verify the accuracy of the biochip test, 384 samples were analyzed and the results compared with those from a standard molecular diagnostic test. The researchers found that the results from the two tests were in 100% agreement. Biochip tests allow clinicians and researchers to quickly run multiple tests on one sample of blood. The new test is also faster and more affordable than the standard DNA test, producing results in three hours. This enables doctors to predict the risk of an individual developing AD, according to the investigators.

“Pairing this test with medical and family history for risk of Alzheimer’s disease has the real potential to advance personalized medicine,” said researcher Emma C. Harte, PhD, who presented the findings at the AACC meeting. “This fast, accurate testing will allow doctors and patients to make more informed choices earlier to potentially slow the possible progress of Alzheimer’s.”

Sources: PR Newswire; August 3, 2016; and AACC Abstract; August 3, 2016.