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UK wide trial of quick and accurate blood tests hopes to revolutionise dementia diagnosis

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15 April 2024

Thousands of people from NHS memory clinics are set to take part in countrywide study looking to capitalise on recent breakthroughs in potential dementia blood tests.

The study run by University College London and the University of Oxford aims to establish the evidence needed to validate testing in the NHS within the next 5 years. As part of the Blood Biomarker Challenge, around 5,000 volunteers will be recruited to the study. The results could mean more accurate and speedy diagnosis for different forms of Alzheimer’s and dementia and the ability for patients to access support and care at an earlier stage.

Professor Jonathan Schott, Alzheimer’s Research UK Chief Medical Officer and Professor of Neurology, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, said:

“An early, accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is already important, allowing people to access to appropriate care and medications. If, as we hope, new treatments that can slow down Alzheimer’s disease become available soon, then this will be vital. This would pave the way for fair and equitable access to new and potentially life-changing treatments to all who might benefit.”

Fiona Carragher, Director of Research and Influencing at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

“Dementia is the UK’s biggest killer, yet a third of people living with dementia don’t have a diagnosis, which means they’re not able to access care and support. An early and accurate diagnosis is also going to be vital in the future for identifying people who are most likely to benefit from new treatments, which are now within reach."

The Blood Biomarker Challenge is being funded by Alzheimer's Society, Alzheimer's Research UK, the National Institute for Health and Care Research and Gates Ventures, including £5m from People's Postcode Lottery.

The announcement from the NIHR is available to read here: Blood tests for diagnosing dementia a step closer for UK

UCL has more information on the trial here: Blood tests for diagnosing dementia to be offered in UK trial

BBC Medical Editor Fergus Walsh reported on the trial announcement; Alzheimer's: Thousands to trial blood tests for dementia



Image: Towfiqu Barbhuiya