BRC researchers develop a new rapid test for Alzheimer’s and Lewy Body Dementia

December 2015

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) researchers, working in collaboration with the BRC at NIHR Queen Square Dementia and the Wolfson Biomarker Dementia consortium at Institute of Neurology (IoN), have developed a new test to diagnose different types of dementia, which they hope will allow for more reliable and accurate diagnosis of the neurodegenerative conditions of Lewy Body Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. 

These findings have just been accepted for publication in the Journal, Molecular Neurodegeneration.

Currently there are no effective treatments/cures for many neurodegenerative diseases. Reliable biomarkers for identifying and stratifying these diseases will be important in the development of future novel therapies. Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is considered an under diagnosed form of dementia for which markers are needed to discriminate LBD from other forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

Using a very small amount of Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF), the team identified several new protein biomarkers that are increased in LBD patients when compared to healthy controls. Using this, as well as previously identified protein markers, the team developed a 10 minute ‘one-pot’ diagnostic test to observe the levels of 46 different key biomarkers. This test was validated using two separate dementia centre cohorts.

Dr Wendy Heywood who led the study is funded by the NIHR BRC as a Senior Research Associate in Translational Biomarker Discovery.