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Pre-empting Alzheimer’s dementia

FAU scientists examine biomarkers for early diagnosis

The EU project ‘BiomarkAPD’ aims to detect Alzeheimer’s dementia before the outset of the disease. Early diagnosis increases tchances of slowing down the progression of Alzeheimer’s. Scientists from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now received 221,000 euros in funding for research on new methods for early detection. FAU scientists also co-ordinated an important sub-project of BiomarkAPD which focuses on the development of standardised samples for quality control.

At present, approximately 34 million people all over the world suffer from Alzheimer’s disease with the number of new cases expected to triple within the next 40 years. The disease still cannot be cured but its outbreak and progress can be slowed down. This explains the great clinical need for diagnosis at the earliest stage possible, which usually relies on so-called biomarkers from liquor. These protein structures may provide information on whether characteristic neurochemical changes in the brain have already taken place. These can be detected years before the actual outbreak of Alzheimer’s dementia.

The European research co-operation ‘BiomarkAPD’ aims to improve early diagnosis in the field of neurochemical dementia diagnosis and to detect further yet unknown biomarkers. The ‘Clinical Neurochemistry and Neurochemical Dementia Diagnostics’ group lead by Prof. Piotr Lewczuk plays an important role in the project which is co-ordinated by the Karolinska University in Stockholm. At the kick-off meeting in Sweden, the FAU scientists received 221,000 euros in funding for research on new methods for early diagnosis and will co-ordinate the sub-project ‘Reference Material’ which focuses on the development of standardised samples for quality control. ‘Reference Material’ aims to improve the international collaboration between laboratories working in the field of neurochemical dementia diagnosis.

The participation in BiomarkAPD strengthens Erlangen’s position as an international centre in the field of dementia diagnosis even further. The Laboratory for Clinical Neurochemistry and Neurochemical Dementia Diagnosis is already Germany’s leading centre for neurochemical dementia diagnosis This is also reflected in the latest hospital ranking by the German magazine Focus (Issue 22 from 26/05/2012), which lists the Department for Psychotherapy of Universitätsklinikum Erlangen in third position among the leading national hospitals in ‘dementia treatment’. The specialised laboratory provides liquor diagnostics, drugs and pharmaceuticals screening, and neurochemical dementia diagnosis (NDD) to the entire university hospital and to external clients.

Further information for the press:

Prof. Dr. med. Piotr Lewczuk
Phone.: +49 (0)9131/8534324
Piotr.Lewczuk@uk-erlangen.de

uni | media service | research No. 39/2012 on 5.9.2012

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