Labcorp has introduced a novel blood test aimed at aiding the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, further enhancing its range of services in the neurodegenerative disease detection domain. This specialized Alzheimer’s test, referred to as the amyloid-tau-neurodegeneration (ATN) profile, examines three distinct biomarkers associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
While it is not meant to provide a definitive diagnosis, the test results can supply crucial insights to healthcare professionals assessing cognitive impairment in patients, potentially expediting the need for additional tests, diagnostic procedures, and the commencement of treatment for the condition.
Dr. Brian Caveney, Labcorp’s Chief Medical and Scientific Officer, pointed out that patients often grapple with uncertainty regarding their Alzheimer’s disease risk, leading to prolonged delays in obtaining a diagnosis. He stressed that more definitive tests, like the newly introduced ATN profile, can offer objective information to patients, their families, and medical practitioners as they navigate the path of care and treatment.
This test is currently available to healthcare providers in the United States to assist in identifying potential causes of cognitive impairment. The ATN profile amalgamates three Labcorp tests designed for neurodegenerative conditions. The initial test, known as the Beta-Amyloid 42/40 Ratio, computes the ratio of two beta amyloid proteins in a patient’s plasma, with a lower result indicating the presence of amyloid plaques commonly associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s.
The second test identifies p-Tau 181 proteins in the blood sample, which previous research has linked to neurodegeneration, similar to the beta amyloid biomarker. The ultimate segment of the profile examines the plasma for neurofilament light chain (NfL) proteins, which are generated within the neurons of the brain but can potentially be released into the bloodstream in elevated quantities when neurons undergo damage, as seen in neurodegeneration.
Labcorp initially introduced the NfL test last year, with a broad scope of application for detecting and confirming the presence of various neurological issues, including ALS, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, concussion, and more.
Labcorp is not the exclusive participant in the development of less invasive alternatives to the present cerebrospinal fluid tests and costly PET brain scans utilized for identifying biological changes linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
In the current year, Quest Diagnostics, C2N Diagnostics, and Quanterix have all launched new blood tests for this specific purpose. While Quest and C2N both assess the ratio between two beta amyloid proteins in the plasma, Quest’s AD-Detect test is accessible directly to consumers, available for around $400 on the company’s website, whereas C2N’s PrecivityAD2 liquid biopsy requires healthcare provider orders. Quanterix’s recently introduced test is prescription-only and employs the p-Tau 181 approach to evaluate the likelihood of neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s.