A simple blood test developed abroad for the early diagnosis of the most common form of dementia – Alzheimer’s disease (AD) – is now available in Israel.

Biomarker-based AD diagnosis at an early stage is the beginning of a revolution, said neurology professor David Tane, president of the Israel Neurological Society and director of the Stroke and Cognition Institute at Rambam Healthcare. Campus in Haifa.

In AD The remarkable discovery in the test will lead doctors to give patients who test positive for the disease drug treatment or lifestyle changes that can slow its progression. The test reveals amyloid beta, which damages the connections between nerve cells and destroys brain tissue. The liquid biopsy, which diagnoses diseases without an invasive procedure, is called AD-Detect. Advertised overseas with $399 plus $13 physician service fee. It’s not a director-to-consumer test; Instead, it should be prescribed and controlled by a doctor.

American Quest Diagnostics, which developed and marketed the blood test, was represented in Israel by the MedicalLink company; Thane serves as a paid consultant to MedicalLink. Quest Diagnostics describes the blood samples sent from Israel to the laboratory in California for nearly half a million different tests every day.

The tests are available to people of any age in Israel who have a referral from a doctor and send them for further testing as part of a medical examination of their cognitive level. The price of the amyloid test is 3,450 shekels, the price of the tau-protein test is 4,850 shekels, and the price of all three is 5,850 shekels. Here there was no explanation why the tests were more expensive.

A new blood test to detect Alzheimer’s has been developed in Israel. (Credit: Provided by MedicalLink)

How was the disease diagnosed in the past?

Its reliability has been proven in clinical studies showing an accuracy of 89% for identifying protein biomarkers of AD. Along with this test, p-tau 181, a protein that helps identify AD pathology, and two other tests can be done to determine the presence of the APOE (apolipoprotein E) gene. These two tests are not required for drug administration, but are used as additional information to evaluate the presence of the disease.

To date, AD has been primarily diagnosed through medical history assessment and cognitive assessment. Biomarker tests such as lumbar acupuncture or brain mapping for amyloid deposits already exist, but they are invasive or not readily available, and the cost to the healthcare system is very high.

According to IMDA (Alzheimer’s Association of Israel), approximately 150,000 Israeli women and men are currently suffering from AD and other dementias. According to the Ministry of Health, the number of patients will triple by 2050.

The first drug approved to treat AD, given intravenously and effective in the early stages of the disease, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration last July, and another drug is expected to be approved later this year. At the same time, studies already link the adoption of a healthy lifestyle and the delay of symptoms.

A new study published in February in the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals, under the title “Biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease 20 Years Ago,” found that biological markers begin after two decades of research by scientists in China. 18 years before clinical diagnosis. Beijing researchers finally found that in AD They compared 648 people who were diagnosed with an equal number of healthy people. Changes in amyloid proteins in AD patients first appeared 14 to 18 years before clinical diagnosis. The study showed the possibility of early diagnostic tests to help patients adopt a healthy lifestyle and slow the progression of the disease, even before cognitive decline occurs.