Despite the increasing prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease worldwide, a single, non-invasive test for use in clinical practice is still urgently needed. At present, physicians assess the degree of memory or cognitive impairment in patients who may have Alzheimer’s disease, and look for signs of behavior or personality changes . Additionally, pathophysiological hallmarks of Azheimer’s (i.e., amyloid-β, tau, and neurodegeneration) can be detected in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) or by imaging techniques like positron emission tomography (PET), which can help rule out other possible causes of cognitive impairment [2, 3].
Since these types of tests are invasive and expensive, researchers are turning to blood-based biomarkers to improve Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis in the clinic, particularly at the early stage. Recently published in Brain, Gonzalez-Ortiz et al. report the design and development of a novel blood-based biomarker specific to brain-derived tau, which they validated in five independent clinical cohorts . In this blog post, we dive into the advantages of their novel immunoassay over those that are commercially available, as well as its future implications for Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.