USF receives $3.2 million for creation of blood tests for Alzheimer’s disease


USF Health executives say a new study “will contribute to research aimed at developing simple blood tests to improve existing methods” of detecting Alzheimer’s disease.

TAMPA, Florida — The University of South Florida recently received $3.2 million from the National Institute of Aging to determine if Alzheimer’s disease can be detected by simple blood tests early on.

The university’s new funding comes on top of a five-year, $44.4 million grant awarded last year that tests “whether the computerized brain [sic] training may reduce risk of dementia in older adults,” USF Health leaders explain in a press release.

USF leads the Preventing Alzheimer’s disease through cognitive training (PACT) which is a trial designed to test the effectiveness of computer-based training in helping with MCI and dementias. Anyone who is part of the PACT study can also enroll in the study which examines whether a simple blood test can detect dementia, according to university leaders.

In collaboration with the university, the study will work with the National Centralized Repository for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias to analyze blood samples taken from participants.

“We need another 2,000 healthy older people to volunteer for the PACT study. We are so grateful to the 1,800 Tampa Bay volunteers who have already joined our fight against Alzheimer’s disease by enrolling in PACT,” lead researcher Jerri Edwards said in a statement.

“Participants will now not only contribute to our work on how to possibly prevent dementia, but will also advance efforts to develop blood tests for the early detection of the disease. »

Currently, PET scans and cerebrospinal fluid samples are needed to diagnose dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease. But USF Health officials say the new study “will contribute to research aimed at developing simple blood tests to improve on existing methods.”

The PACT study was launched in 2021 and continues to recruit participants.

“The USF PACT study focuses on the effectiveness of computer programs, or brain games, in preventing dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease,” the university explains in the statement. “These computerized training exercises are designed to potentially improve mental speed and visual attention.”

At the end of the trial, scientists examine blood samples from volunteer participants. They will then determine which specific blood biomarkers predict Alzheimer’s disease as well as disease severity and responsiveness to treatment.

For more information on the PACT study, Click here.

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