A novel development from researchers at Jackson State University utilizes gold nanoparticles to detect a biomarker implicated in Alzheimer’s disease to a 100 fold sensitivity level to anything else that has been developed so far. This could pave the way for incredibly early detection of the neurodegenerative disease Alzheimer’s.
The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in patients with Alzheimer’s disease has abnormally high levels of a highly phosphorylated protein known as tau. Tau is a protein which is involved with microtubule stability.
The role that tau plays in Alzheimer’s is not fully understood but what is known is that is always found highly phosphorylated in brain tissue of Alzheimer’s sufferers. It is hypothesized that it will form aggregates with other tau molecules and possibly cause inflammation in the brain leading to the associated memory loss found in Alzheimer’s disease.
The technique is based on a monclonal antibody (anti-tau), which is conjugated with gold nanoparticles. The monoclonal antibody-nanoparticle complex will aggregate in the presence of the phosphorylated tau. It can then be readily detected by a color change unearthed by detection through two-photo light scattering.
This technique allows far more rapid, reliable and early detection of Alzheimer’s. As it affects currently an estimated 26.6 million people this could be an amazing breakthrough for Alzheimer’s treatment. It will become even more important as the incidence of Alzheimer’s will increase over the next forty years.
This technique coupled with the new genes identified for Alzheimer’s disease could form a potent partnership for new treatments of Alzheimer’s disease which so far have very little to offer. – CT