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Non-Invasive Saliva Test Predicts Future Risk for Alzheimer's

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 21 Nov 2022
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Image: genoSCORE-LAB is a genetic test for risk assessment in Alzheimer`s disease (Photo courtesy of Cytox)
Image: genoSCORE-LAB is a genetic test for risk assessment in Alzheimer`s disease (Photo courtesy of Cytox)

The risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease has several components; depending on an individual’s genes, he or she may have been born with a higher or lower risk of developing the disease. This genetic risk, which includes an individual’s sex, remains constant, but getting older increases the risk for everyone. Other external factors can also contribute to the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and its subsequent progression. Fortunately, there are many positive steps that one can take that have the potential to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, but it is important to understand the risk first. Now, a new non-invasive test can predict the risk of an individual developing Alzheimer’s disease from a simple saliva sample.

Cytox Ltd.’s (Oxford, England) genoSCORE-LAB is a genetic test that analyzes patient genotypes generated from an array of over 100,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms – common genetic variations - that are associated with, or protective against, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. More specifically genoSCORE-LAB generates a polygenic risk score – generated through an algorithm, assessing multiple genetic loci and their associated disease-causing weights, alongside age and sex, which also affect risk. APOE status remains a major genetic component of risk in Alzheimer’s disease, especially carriers of the -E4 allele. However, genoSCORE-LAB provides additional information on the genetic risk of cognitive decline in the E4 heterozygote and E3 homozygote groups. genoSCORE-LAB will also report on APOE status, and highlight presence of gene variants known to be associated with Early Onset Alzheimer's disease.

genoSCORE-LAB only requires a blood or saliva sample. An easy-to-use mouth swab enables individuals to provide a sample from home if they are self-isolating due to COVID-19, or not wishing or easily able to attend a healthcare setting. Initial applications will be for physicians assessing new patients, with cognitive complaints, to better understand their future risk of cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s disease. It can also provide greater insight into the risk of cognitive decline in existing patients. Additionally, genoSCORE-LAB will be used in clinical study recruitment strategies to identify patients most suitable to enter trials of investigational Alzheimer’s drugs, including those patients with mild cognitive impairment who are most at risk of subsequent decline within the timescale of the study.

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