Early results for Eisai research confirms link between amyloid biomarkers and early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
An automated immunoassay system being developed by Eisai in collaboration with Kobe, Japan–based Sysmex for use with the latter’s HISCL line of analyzers could someday be offered as a rapid and simple blood test for Alzheimer’s disease.
The test quantifies the ratio of amyloid beta peptide chains of different lengths that are present in a blood sample –– typically microliters –– in about 20 minutes. The key values of interest are for the amyloid beta peptide chains with 42 and 40 amino acids, both of which form the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease that damage nerve cells in the brain.
Notably, while the levels of amyloid beta 1-40 do not typically change with the progression of the disease, a reduction in the level of amyloid beta 1-42 does occur in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. When Eisai’s researchers evaluated plasma and cerebrospinal fluid samples from healthy elderly patients and those with mild cognitive impairment, they found a strong correlation between the ratios.
The next step for the scientists is to determine if the ratios obtained for amyloid beta proteins in blood samples also correlate with results obtained in positron emission tomography scans.