Israeli innovation in Alzheimer’s testing ‘one to watch’

Israeli innovation in Alzheimer’s testing ‘one to watch’

Online news magazine Israel21c has named the blood test for Alzheimer’s being developed by an Israeli professor as one of the top medical advances to watch out for in 2014.

Prof. Michal Schwartz made the list after helping develop of a blood test which can detect Alzheimer’s and ALS with 85% accuracy. The technique is now in a clinical testing phase.

NeuroQuest, the Israeli company behind the test, said one of the main weaknesses in the Alzheimer’s area was that patients didn’t find out until it was too late.

Last year the company got a $500,000 investment boost after it engaged Dr. Jacobo Mintzer, an expert in Alzheimer’s research based at Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).

The Alzheimer’s population in Israel is too small for major clinical testing, which meant the company had to rely on the US for its human trials.

The blood test is based on Prof. Schwartz’s discovery that certain parts of the immune system are involved in protecting the central nervous system and also in healing it from neurodegenerative diseases or neural injury.

NeuroQuest could find itself in the right place at the right time. In late 2012, US officials approved Amyvid, a radioactive diagnostic agent for PET scan imaging of the brain to see plaques in adults being evaluated for Alzheimer’s.

However, a PET scan costs up to $6,000, so NeuroQuest’s technology could provide enough cause for health insurers to authorise the highly accurate PET imaging.

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