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Blood test detecting Alzheimer’s risk to be used in large study of early treatment

An upcoming federally funded study plans to use the PrecivityAD blood test to detect early...
An upcoming federally funded study plans to use the PrecivityAD blood test to detect early signs of Alzheimer's disease.(Jerry Naunheim Jr., Business Wire via AP Photos)
Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 12:35 PM CST
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(Gray News) - An upcoming study plans to use a recent breakthrough - a blood test for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease - in a clinical trial working to prevent or delay people from getting memory loss and other symptoms of the disease.

Researchers announced the trial Thursday at the Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease conference in Boston, funded in part by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, according to a news release from the University of Southern California.

The PrecivityAD blood test, released in late 2020, has been shown to accurately detect levels of a protein fragment associated with Alzheimer’s, according to a Scientific American report and follow-up research.

Previously, more expensive brain imaging or invasive spinal fluid tests were needed for early detection. PrecivityAD is available as a routine blood test.

The trial, called the AHEAD Study, aims to enroll people between the ages of 55 and 80. It will test whether removing amyloid plaque in the brain after early detection can stop or delay symptoms, they said in the release.

There is currently no cure known for the degenerative disease.

The study will enroll 1,165 participants, with research centers in 75 U.S. and Canadian communities, with a goal of recruiting a diverse group of participants.

Dr. Reisa Sperling, co-principal investigator for the AHEAD Study, called blood-based screening “a giant leap forward” in detecting changes before people show signs of memory loss.

“New blood test technology can help identify those more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease changes in their brains, which enables them to enroll in prevention or treatment trials as early as possible,” Sperling said in a statement. “This is a remarkable achievement that may lead to detecting and treating Alzheimer’s much earlier, and hopefully one day, preventing the memory loss associated with this devastating disease.”

This follows the approval this year of a new drug, Aduhelm, that clears the brain plaque thought to play a role in Alzheimer’s, although regulators have asked for more research. Questions of pricing and other issues have slowed the rollout of the medicine, the company’s CEO said.

For more information on study locations and eligibility requirements, go to AHEADstudy.org.

Copyright 2021 Gray Media Group, Inc. The Associated Press contributed to the report. All rights reserved.