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New Blood Test Can Identify and Confirm Neurodegenerative Disease

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 15 Jul 2022
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Image: New test measures key biomarker associated with neuronal damage (Photo courtesy of LabCorp)
Image: New test measures key biomarker associated with neuronal damage (Photo courtesy of LabCorp)

Neurological disease presents in many forms, and today, confirmation of disease is often complex and challenging. When neurons are damaged, proteins called neurofilaments are released and are detectable in blood. One of three main neurofilament types, Neurofilament Light Chain (NfL) has been the most widely studied in research settings, but a reliable NfL test has not been widely available for patient care. Now, the first widely accessible NfL test that provides direct evidence of neurodegeneration and neuronal injury is expected to provide significant benefits in supporting more effective diagnosis and treatment of many disorders.

LabCorp Diagnostics (Burlington, NC, USA) has launched a new NfL blood test that will allow doctors to identify and verify signs of neurodegenerative disease, enabling physicians to provide a more effective and efficient path to diagnosis and treatment for patients. Elevated NfL levels signal neuronal injury, whether from diseases like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, or from brain injury, such as with concussion. The new NfL test is performed from a standard blood collection that can be done at a hospital, physician’s office or at any of Labcorp’s nearly 2,000 patient service centers.

“NfL is a simple, objective blood test that provides direct evidence of neuronal damage,” said Dr. Brian Caveney, chief medical officer and President, Labcorp Diagnostics. “In making this test widely available, Labcorp is supporting neurologists with a tool they’ve been asking for that enables faster diagnoses, better treatment decisions and improved patient care. It’s a major step forward in the monitoring and identification of patients with neuronal injury due to disease or trauma.”

“Importantly, NfL isn’t specific to one disease, but it is highly specific to neuronal damage from a wide variety of causes, from Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis to concussion and physical injury. This test will be impactful in helping many patients,” said Dr. Joseph Volpe, neurology business segment and discipline director at Labcorp. “Serial use of NfL testing can help doctors to follow trends that indicate the effectiveness of medicines or therapies, or whether there is continued injury or disease progression.”

Related Links:
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