Skip to Content

A Blood Test for Alzheimer’s?

Biomarkers could help target preventative treatments.
October 15, 2007

Scientists at Stanford University have identified a set of protein biomarkers in the blood that can correctly identify people with Alzheimer’s and predict which patients with mild cognitive impairment will go on to develop the disease. If replicated in larger studies, this protein profile could drastically improve on existing methods to diagnose the disease. Because cognitive symptoms don’t usually appear until the brain has undergone significant damage, and no reliable physical symptoms have yet been identified, accurate diagnosis relies largely on cognitive testing and lab tests to rule out other problems. The study was published Monday in the journal Nature Medicine.

The test is being commercialized by Satoris, based in San Francisco. In a press release issued by the company, Tony Wyss-Coray, a neurologist at Stanford University School of Medicine and company cofounder, said,

“Our data indicate blood contains a highly specific, bio­logical signature that can characterize Alzheimer’s disease years before a clinical diagnosis can be made.”

The blood test could also aid in the development of new treatments to stop the progression of the disease and help target those treatments to those who need them. Alzheimer’s disease is usually preceded by a period of milder impairment, known as mild cognitive dysfunction. But not everyone with mild cognitive impairment will go on to develop Alzheimer’s, making it difficult to test new drugs designed to stop the progression. Pharmaceutical companies are actively searching for biomarkers that predict the disease. (See “Tackling a $100 Billion Disease.”)

Keep Reading

Most Popular

This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting

With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics.

VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence

On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.

This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine

Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.