NeuroVision Imaging Inc., announced today it has received an investment from the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) to support developing reliable, affordable biomarker tests for Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia and neurodegenerative disorders.
Many of the existing diagnostics tests for Alzheimer's are expensive and invasive, but the ability to detect and measure biomarkers in a blood test could revolutionize the way scientists and clinicians approach the disease. In addition to providing us a better understanding of how the disease progresses, biomarkers will enable us to improve clinical trials and more accurately monitor response to treatments."
Howard Fillit, MD, Founding Executive Director and Chief Science Officer, ADDF
Steven R. Verdooner, CEO and Co-Founder of NeuroVision, said the development of noninvasive methods for detecting the early changes that occur in Alzheimer's is increasingly important.
"With the aging population, the number of people with Alzheimer's will increase dramatically over the next few decades, but we have no simple, inexpensive screening approaches, and there are no therapies that can reverse the course of the disease," he said. "By the time Alzheimer's symptoms are seen, severe brain changes have already taken place. That's why NeuroVision is focused on delivering diagnostic tests and biomarkers for early detection and monitoring - tools designed not only to improve research and development of effective treatments, but also to allow early detection and lifestyle interventions that may slow progression or help patients better manage the disease."
These NeuroVision biomarker studies are being led by Leyla Anderson, MD, PhD, D(ABMLI), Vice President of Biomarker Development at NeuroVision, and Blaine Roberts, PhD, Associate Professor of Biochemistry at Emory University School of Medicine. They and colleagues will test several recent findings for validation, using blood samples from the Australian Imaging and Biomarker Lifestyle study of Ageing (AIBL).
"Our goal is to develop a blood-based screening tool for early detection of beta-amyloid protein accumulation in the brain - a process that begins 20 years before Alzheimer's symptoms become apparent," Roberts said. "We recently discovered that beta-amyloid complexes in the blood can reflect amyloid load in the brain, and we developed technology that allows us to measure these protein complexes in the blood. Our work has shown that the determination of these complexes can identify people at the earliest stages of Alzheimer's with a sensitivity and specificity well above the industry standard."
Roberts said that in addition to validating their findings, the new studies will provide more information about the role of amyloid-beta in Alzheimer's development - hopefully offering clues for the eventual development of therapeutic interventions.
"The development of a blood test for Alzheimer's disease would radically change our ability to design, test and administer treatments for the disease," he said.
The ADDF's Diagnostics Accelerator (DxA), created in July 2018, is a partnership of funders with commitments totaling nearly $50 million over three years. Partners include ADDF Co-Founder Leonard A. Lauder, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, MacKenzie Scott, the Dolby family, the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, and The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration, among others. DxA's aim is to develop novel biomarkers for the early detection of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.
This research initiative is dedicated to accelerating the development of affordable and accessible biomarkers to diagnose Alzheimer's disease and related dementias and advance the clinical development of more targeted treatments. Through translational research awards and access to consulting support from industry experts, this program will challenge, assist and fund the research community in both academia and industry to develop novel peripheral and digital biomarkers.