Biomarker Detection Improves in Alzheimer's and CTE

Alan R. Jacobs, MD


April 29, 2019

This transcript has been edited for clarity.

This is the Medscape Neurology Minute. I'm Dr Alan Jacobs.

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health have developed a highly selective and ultrasensitive method for detecting 3-repeat and 4-repeat isoforms of tau protein and its aggregates, specific for both Alzheimer disease and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.[1]

The test, called AD real-time quaking-induced conversion, or AD RT-QuIC, is related to earlier RT-QuIC tests developed to detect prion disease.

The test has detected tau seeding activity in AD brains at dilutions as extreme as 1010-fold, while being 106-fold less sensitive to other tauopathies, such as Pick disease or age-related tauopathy.

The technique is also able to detect pure synthetic tau fibrils weighing only 16 fg.

The authors conclude that the seeding patterns that this technique revealed for AD and CTE tau filaments provide a mechanism and a mechanistic basis for their distinct proliferation patterns in patients with these tau diseases, and the technique provides quantitation of tau as a new biomarker.

Moreover, this technique will help select clinical trial participants and help assess the efficacy of new therapeutic strategies.

This has been the Medscape Neurology Minute. I'm Dr Alan Jacobs.

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