A pan-European study aiming to develop new imaging procedures to aid in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease was launched recently.
Currently, there is no single test or biomarker that can determine whether a patient will develop the illness.
PredictAD, a European Union-funded research project to be carried out by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, GE Healthcare, and a consortium of research institutions across the continent will assess imaging biomarkers such as Pittsburgh compound B and fluorodeoxyglucose in position emission tomography, as well as magnetic resonance imaging.
It is hoped that combine information from a variety of sources will enable earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, differentiation between various conditions and even monitoring of disease progression and the effectiveness of treatment.
VTT’s Dr Jyrki Lötjönen, scientific coordinator of the project, said: ”The aim of PredictAD project is to develop an objective indicator to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease at the earliest stage possible.
“This may be possible by combining data from various data sources of patient monitoring, such as neuropsychological tests, medical imaging, electrical brain activity measurements, and analyzing protein and metabolomics levels of blood samples.
“Early diagnostics may play an important role in effective medical treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, especially in the future, as the next generation of more effective therapies become available for all patients”
Alzheimer’s disease is a leading cause of dementia, a condition with affects more than 5 million people in Europe. Alzheimer’s is thought to cost European society more than €55bn per year in healthcare, as well as causing protracted suffering to patients and their relatives.