The first-ever commercial Alzheimer’s blood test is on the market. It’s big progress. Some experts have reservations because it hasn’t yet secured FDA approval, among other limitations.
While Alzheimer’s is among the top six leading causes of death in the United States and its prevalence is only growing, diagnosing it with accuracy has been notoriously difficult, requiring brain scan technology that can be both expensive and inaccessible. One approach to solving for these challenges is the development of a blood test for Alzheimer’s. A number of different tests have been in development over the past several years. Many are designed to detect the disease’s key biomarkers — beta-amyloid and tau proteins in the brain — via blood plasma. But, most Alzheimer’s blood tests underway are still years from completion.
So, it is big news that one of these experimental tests — developed by C2N Diagnostics by researchers from Washington University School of Medicine — is now on the market in most U.S. states and in Europe. (It joins an existing Quest Diagnostics blood test designed to identify Alzheimer’s biomarkers that is not widely used in part due to questions of accuracy.)