UNT Health Science Center scientists are one step closer to helping develop a simple blood test that can quickly and easily detect the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease — the technology represents a diagnostic breakthrough that could facilitate screening in older adults. Detailed standardized guidelines for the test were recently published in the scholarly journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, stressing the necessary steps to be achieved before the blood test could be used in practice. These guidelines define protocols and reflect the commitment and efforts that an international working group is currently developing. “If we are ever going to get a blood test for Alzheimer’s disease into the hands of primary care providers, we must have guidelines,” explained Sid O’Bryant, PhD, from the Interim Director of the Institute of Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Research.
These specific guidelines will be utilized in research for Alzheimer’s blood-based biomarkers and will ensure that every lab is properly following the same standardized procedures to collect blood, explained Dr. O’Bryant, who is a member of the international research group and lead author of the paper.
“You can create a blood test in the lab, but if you don’t have a systemized way for collecting the blood, the test will never go into practice. You’ll have one lab doing it one way and another lab doing something different,” he added.
O’Bryant has been working for many years with representatives from the United States, Germany, Australia, England and other countries so that standards for the test can eventually be created. With the new criteria, all aspects of the test have been specified for the guidelines, from the type of needle used to draw the blood to blood storage time.
Just in the same way that blood tests are conducted for many other diseases, such as diabetes, protocols are established to ensure that every lab performs the test in the very same way. Guidelines are required before FDA approval can be requested to use such a test in a clinical context. “For UNTHSC, our next step is take these blood guidelines and implement them into a clinical trial. That’s never been done before,” concluded Dr. O’Bryant.