PharmaKure announces study success for novel blood test to identify biomarkers in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease

Study confirms ALZmetrixTM whole blood test can detect people at high risk of developing full Alzheimer’s Disease

Manchester, United Kingdom, 17 October 2023 – PharmaKure, a pharmaceutical company spun out from the University of Manchester, announces successful study results for a novel whole blood test for quantifying Alzheimer’s Disease biomarkers. PharmaKure’s proprietary ALZmetrixTM blood test can identify blood-based biomarkers in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease to provide early warning of cognitive decline.

The study was designed to focus on the testing of whole blood.  A number of biomarkers were accessed for the stratification of Alzheimer’s subjects who had previously been tested for amyloid deposits, using either brain PET imaging or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Levels of biomarker proteins were measured in blood from patients at the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. The study investigated whether it is possible to accurately determine whether a patient had amyloid deposits in their brains, as well as predicting how far they had progressed along the path towards full Alzheimer’s Disease. A simple blood test such as ALZmetrix may offer an accurate and simple alternative to costly and unpleasant PET brain imaging or collection of CSF.

Data from the Study – Blood from 54 subjects at the Glasgow Memory Clinic (Neuroclin; Motherwell, UK) was shipped to PharmaKure (Manchester, UK) for analysis. Key biomarker proteins associated with Alzheimer’s Disease pathology are amyloid-β (Total, Aβ40 and Aβ42), α-synuclein and Tau (Total, pTAU(181) and pTAU(217)). The study evaluated the relationship of aggregated forms of these proteins in patient blood, compared to PET scans and CSF findings.  Machine learning tools were used to combine the blood biomarker and patient data (age; gender; amyloid status; ApoE4 genetics) in an optimal way to develop predictors.

The study’s results confirm that using whole blood, rather than just the blood plasma fraction, can identify people who are at high risk of developing full-blown Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, the machine learning software shows which biomarkers are most useful for this purpose.

“We are particularly pleased to find that our ALZmetrix blood test can differentiate between patient groups that are amyloid positive or amyloid negative with 97% accuracy to predict those at highest risk of Alzheimer’s Disease,” said Professor Andrew Doig, Head of R&D at PharmaKure. “Age, APOE4 and pTau are the most useful features in the prediction. We have also shown that blood can track disease progression, primarily using levels of Tau and pTau.”

“These results represent an important step in developing whole blood tests to address a major unmet need for an alternative to PET and CSF scans”, said Dr Farid Khan, CEO at PharmaKure Limited. “This study has demonstrated how to get early warning signs of cognitive decline using whole blood. We will be using the exciting data to expand our ALZmetrix test to additional patients and new biomarkers.”

“Using the ALZmetrix test for Alzheimer’s could provide a low cost, easily accessible test for stratifying patients for clinical studies, as an alternative to expensive brain scans or other plasma-based tests,” said Dr Bob Smith, Clinical Director at PharmaKure.

One of the key advantages of using whole blood is that it may enable the development of a screening system to catch Alzheimer’s before any major memory problems become apparent. This would allow treatments to be offered earlier, thus providing better population-based health outcomes, lowering health system costs and improving the quality of life of millions of patients.

Editors’ notes

About Alzheimer’s Disease – Alzheimer’s disease is a fatal illness that causes progressive decline in memory and other aspects of cognition. Dementia due to Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of all cases. Every three seconds someone in the world develops dementia. 850,000 people (UK) and 44 million people (worldwide) are currently suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia related illnesses. In 2020, the total cost of care for people in the UK was £34.7 billion. Globally, the cost was $360 billion and by 2050 it could reach $1 trillion (source Alzheimer’s Research UK), unless we find a way to slow the disease.

About PharmaKure – PharmaKure is a UK based pharmaceutical company, spun out from the University of Manchester. The company is actively researching, developing, commercialising and repositioning repurposed drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, as well as developing the ALZmetrixTM diagnostic.

For more information, contact [email protected] or see Pharmakure’s website

Company Contacts

CEO: Dr Farid Khan – [email protected]

Head of R&D: Professor Andrew Doig – [email protected]

CCO: Dr Naz Bashir – [email protected]