Today there is no single test or biomarker that can predict whether a particular person will develop Alzheimer´s disease and a definitive diagnosis is only possible after death – with postmortem analysis.
The aim of PredictAD project is to develop an objective indicator to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease at the earliest stage possible. This may be possible by combining data from various data sources of patient monitoring, such as neuropsychological tests, medical imaging, electrical brain activity measurements, and analyzing protein and metabolomics levels of blood samples. Early diagnostics may play an important role in effective medical treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, especially in the future, as the next generation of more effective therapies become available for all patients.
According to the latest estimates, the global prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is predicted to quadruple to 106 million by 2050¹. Thus, there is a critical need for effective diagnostic tools to help in the early diagnosis of this debilitating disease.
At a later stage during this three-year project, a selected biomarker set will be used to develop an efficient and reliable software solution that can be used by a physician to assess the risk, to diagnose and to monitor the progress of Alzheimer’s disease in real clinical conditions using various patient data. The accuracy, usability and cost-effectiveness of the models and software will be clinically evaluated.
Currently, there is no curative treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. If new drugs or prevention strategies were proven to be effective, an early diagnosis may enable doctors to provide medical care at an earlier stage, at a time when clinical diagnosis using only signs and symptoms of disease is challenging.
Improving our understanding of the role that different imaging and non-imaging biomarkers play during the disease process is the key as we strive to develop new diagnostic solutions for Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia causes long and oppressive suffering to patients and their relatives, and imposes enormous costs on society. Affecting more than 5 million people in Europe², Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia; it covers 50-70 % of all dementia cases². Estimated costs of Alzheimer’s disease to European society are more than 55 billion € per annum³. As the proportion of elderly people of population is increasing these costs are becoming a real burden to the society. Therefore a major breakthrough in Alzheimer’s disease prevention and treatment is vital also in the economical sense.
With a consortium of top-level European research and industrial partners, the PredictAD project takes an important step towards an early approach to Alzheimer’s disease prediction and management. Public and private partners from 8 research,academic, industrial and medical organizations from four different European countries will form the research consortium. PredictAD consortium members are VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, GE Healthcare (UK), Nexstim Ltd. (Finland), University of Kuopio (Finland), Imperial College London (UK), Uppsala University (Sweden), University of Milan (Italy) and Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet (Denmark).
1 Forecasting the global burden of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s and Dementia Vol. 3 pp. 186 – 191, July 2007.
2 Alzheimer-Europe www.alzheimer-europe.org
3 Costs of Disorders of the Brain in Europe. Jes Olesen et al. European Journal of Neurology 12 (Suppl. 1), iii–v