A small trial published in the journal Cell suggests a new technique that might one day be used to create a blood test for Alzheimer’s disease, as U.S. scientists have used thousands of artificial molecules to “fish” for the disease. More research is needed before a test is developed, although researchers suggest the technique could be used to diagnose other diseases earlier, too, like lung and pancreatic cancers. The body produces antibodies in response to alien matieral, like the proteins on viruses and bacteria, which means testing for antibodies can be a test for disease. In the new approach, a team at the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute used 15,000 synthetic peptoids to “fish” for antibodies in blood samples of six patients with Alzheimer’s, six with Parkinson’s disease and six healthy people. In this sample, they found two antibodies that flagged Alzheimer’s disease.
Looking for more?
Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.