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2010 Grants - Soto
Amyloid-Beta Oligomers and Alzheimer Diagnosis
Claudio Soto, Ph.D.
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
2010 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
A major barrier to progress in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease is the lack of a simple and reliable diagnostic test for the disease in its early stages. Currently, nearly all diagnoses are made after the disease has already caused significant loss of brain function.
Claudio Soto, Ph.D., and colleagues are working to develop a reliable test of early Alzheimer's disease that relies on blood samples. Their approach is to measure certain forms of beta-amyloid in the blood. Beta-amyloid is a protein fragment that accumulates into amyloid plaque in the brain, one of the characteristic features of Alzheimer pathology. Before amyloid plaque forms, however, beta-amyloid aggregates into smaller clusters known as oligomers, which are toxic to nerve cells. Dr. Soto's team is working to develop a blood test that can detect very low levels of oligomers in the blood. Their approach relies on the fact that the beta-amyloid that forms oligomers is folded differently than normal beta-amyloid. These studies may form the basis for the development of a laboratory test for early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.