First Diagnostic Test for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease Available Late 2008
A new blood test has been developed by a company that claims it can give an early diagnosis of neurodegenerative disease and distinguish between Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. The test, called NuroPro, comes from Power3Medical Products , an Oklahoma-based proteomics company.
Power3 Medical Products has identified and patented several blood proteins associated with neurodegenerative disease. NuroPro measures a suite of 59 protein biomarkers, the relative levels of which can help distinguish between Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease, or tell if a patient is disease-free. The company says the test is highly accurate, with a specificity and sensitivity in the high 90s.
“There is currently no diagnostic test for any neurodegenerative disease on the market—diagnoses are currently based solely on a clinical diagnosis of symptoms,” said Power3Medical CEO, Steve Rash.
Two clinical validation studies are currently underway at the Cleo Roberts Center of Clinical Research in Arizona in the United States and at the Research Institute of Thessaly in Greece. The U.S. clinical validation study includes one hundred Alzheimer’s disease patients, one hundred Parkinson’s disease patients, and one hundred controls. Power3Medical Products plans to sell the test when the clinical trials are finished. It should be available in Greece by Q3 of 2008 and in the U.S. market by late Q3 or Q4 of 2008.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, as many as 5.2 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s. It is predicted that 10 million baby boomers will develop Alzheimer’s in their lifetime. Furthermore, the direct and indirect costs of Alzheimer’s and other dementias to Medicare, Medicaid, and businesses amount to more than $148 billion each year.
Pathologists and lab directors will want to monitor the arrival of this test in the clinical marketplace. It is an example of how multi-analyte assays, based on genomic or proteomic technology, promise to deliver new tools for diagnosing disease. Should the test demonstrate effectiveness in its clinical studies, there is likely to be significant demand for it. Because the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases are easily confused with the normal effects of old age, a test that can provide an accurate diagnosis is likely to be accepted and used by clinicians.
Category: General Healthcare News