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New biomarkers for Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s diseases - key tools for early diagnosis and drug development

Final Report Summary - BIOFINDER (New biomarkers for Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s diseases - key tools for early diagnosis and drug development)

There are no therapies that slow down Alzheimer’s (AD) and Parkinson’s (PD). The diseases start 10-20 y before clinical symptoms develop, opening a window for early diagnosis and treatment. New disease-modifying therapies need to be initiated before widespread neurodegeneration occurs, making methods for early diagnosis crucial for clinical practice and trials.

Aims
1. Develop cost-effective blood-based biomarkers.
2. Develop very accurate diagnostic algorithms using advanced imaging and CSF biomarkers.
3. Better understand the underlying pathologies.

We have prospectively included population- and clinic-based cohorts of patients and healthy elderly. Longitudinally, we have performed detailed clinical assessments, and analyzed blood and CSF with state-of-the-art mass spectrometry and immunoassays. Advanced MRI have been used to unravel the structural and functional brain connectivity and newly developed PET ligands have been used to detect regional tau and amyloid pathology. The project's unique strength is that clinically relevant and very well-characterized cohorts are examined with world-leading technologies in protein chemistry and brain imaging.

Our results have improved the diagnostic work-up in both specialist clinics and primary care. In the next 5-10 years, our findings might facilitate the development of new drugs that can halt the disease progression before disabling symptoms have yet developed.