Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common form of dementia, is expected to affect 1 in 85 elderly people by 2050. Presently there is no cure for the disease, only disease-modifying treatment approaches that are being investigated. However, for regimens like amyloid-beta immunisation to have an effect, they should be administered at early stages of dementia onset. This is hampered by the unreliability of existing dementia-related syndrome diagnostic methods. To overcome these difficulties, the EU-funded ‘Clinical neuroproteomics of neurodegenerative diseases’ (Cneupro) project focused on advancing proteomic tools for the discovery of novel neurochemical dementia markers (biomarkers) in blood and CSF. This approach was expected to improve early and possibly predictive diagnosis of AD. By integrating the expertise of biotech companies and leading clinical and diagnostic centres, the Cneupro initiative succeeded in combining high-quality sample handling with clinical phenotyping. A set of standard operating protocols (SOPs) for neurochemical dementia diagnostics (NDD) markers were established that would be applicable to all European countries. A list of 30 potential biomarkers was simultaneously identified in two different consortium centres, validating to some extent the significance of these findings. Exploitation of these biomarkers for the design of novel detection methods and ELISA assays is expected to significantly impact the diagnostic methodology for AD targets. Coupled with advanced molecular neuroimaging, the Cneupro findings are hoped to contribute to the early diagnosis of AD, improving the welfare, wealth and quality of life of European citizens.
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