St. Louis-Based C2N Diagnostics has a Blood Test for Alzheimer’s Disease That’s Now on the Market

    By Kathleen Berger, Executive Producer for Science & Technology

    Accurately diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease can be a challenge without having an MRI, PET scan or spinal tap. For patients and families, the testing is an added expense and burden, possibly very difficult for the patient.  So it may never get done. Without testing, doctors can’t be sure as other forms of dementia masquerade as Alzheimer’s.

    “The misdiagnosis rate is a high number,” said Joel Braunstein, MD, President & CEO of C2N Diagnostics. “And if you ask a doctor they’ll say yeah I’m pretty confident it’s Alzheimer. They’ll be wrong 30-40% of the time.”

    Now there’s something new to help doctors accurately diagnose.  C2N Diagnostics in St. Louis has an Alzheimer’s blood test on the market.

    “We were really the first group to introduce a blood test to the market to aid in the clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease,” Braunstein explained. “We’ve been working with a number of physicians in rural communities who say we are hundreds of miles away from the nearest PET scanning facility or we really don’t engage in frequent cerebral spinal fluid sampling. The availability of a blood test that the patient can take conveniently without having to travel a long distance is very appealing.”

    The blood samples are sent to C2N’s lab in St. Louis for are processing.

    Randall Bateman, MD, professor of neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is a scientific co-founder for C2N.

    “It’s going to represent a different kind of way that we do clinical research, the way we recruit patients for trials as well as patient care in terms of how we diagnose people who have memory problems,” said Bateman.

    The blood test is called Precivity AD. The test is a result of Bateman’s research with neurologist and neuroscientist David Holtzman, MD, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The test that’s on the market is intended for people over the age of 60 who are presenting with early cognitive abnormalities. It measures levels of the amyloid-beta protein. The proteins clump together to form amyloid plaques in the brain – the first sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid-beta proteins clump together to form the sticky, toxic plaques scattered throughout the brain in Alzheimer’s.

    “Amyloid plaque pathology is really the earliest indicator that something might be happening abnormal in the brain,” said Braunstein.

    When patients begin experiencing symptoms, an early and accurate diagnosis can get patients on the fast track to therapies and clinical trails that can help them before the disease progresses.

    Braunstein said any doctor who can prescribe medication for Alzheimer’s and dementia could order the blood test. The orders C2N Diagnostics receives are from both doctors who specialize in memory care and primary doctors.  Even if the test is ordered to rule out Alzheimer’s with greater confidence.

    “A negative result – a result that comes back highly suggested that Alzheimer’s disease is not present – should compel a physician to say they’re now going to look for other causes of the cognitive impairment” Braunstein explained. “And the reason why that’s important is because there are some forms of dementia that can be readily treated. And so being able to rule out Alzheimer’s disease with a high degree of confidence could potentially be very important for that patient. One, it could potentially be a relief to the patient knowing that they don’t have Alzheimer’s. But then it should also compel the physician to say now we’re going to look for another cause to potentially explain your symptoms.”