Lumbar puncture (LP) and/or positron emission tomography (PET) can be used to measure in-vivo the abnormal presence of specific proteins in the brain (beta-amyloid and/or phosphorylated tau) that are characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. In recent years, scientists have started to develop new tests to measure the accumulation of these proteins in the blood. The introduction of blood tests into clinical practice could represent a breakthrough in the field, as they open up the possibility of inexpensive and large-scale screening of the ageing population. In addition, they would facilitate early diagnosis and the possibility of intervening more rapidly in the development of the disease.
The HUG Memory Clinic is one of the few centres in the world that can provide access to the full range of biomarkers to patients participating in research studies. A recent study in collaboration with the Department of Diagnostics, notably the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging and the Department of Laboratory Medicine, allowed researchers to evaluate the level of concordance between lumbar puncture, positron emission tomography and blood tests. It was shown that the results of the blood tests were aligned with those of the lumbar puncture and PET scans, but with a high degree of variability, confirming the potential of these tests and the need for validation studies. The data suggest that blood tests could in the future become the first screening test to be performed in clinical practice, to select people for whom further examination by PET or LP would be necessary. With this study, the HUG is working to be able to offer the most effective diagnosis to people with cognitive complaints in order to provide the most appropriate recommendations and the most effective treatment.
These results will be presented by Dr. Stampacchia and Dr. Altomare (HUG) at the European Congress of Nuclear Medicine which will take place from 20 to 23 October 2021 (https://eanm21.eanm.org/ )
Collaboration : HUG/ UNIGE/ Gothenburg Laboratory of Clinical Neurochemistry