By staff writers

October 17, 2019 -- A new test for abnormal tau in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) has potential for diagnosing a range of neurodegenerative conditions, researchers from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded in a study published online October 16 in Acta Neuropathologica.

Abnormalities in the protein tau are at the root of more than 25 neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, and better means of testing are needed, other than the analysis of postmortem brain tissue, the researchers noted.

Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, MT
Researchers at the NIH's Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, MT, have developed a test for abnormal tau in cerebrospinal fluid. Image courtesy of the NIH.

To help evaluate these abnormalities, researchers at the Hamilton, MT-based Rocky Mountain Laboratories, part of the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), developed a test known as 4R RT-QuIC, or 4-repeat tau protein amplified in a real-time, quaking-induced conversion process.

The test was useful for detecting abnormal tau in living and deceased patients, and it showed promise for helping to correctly diagnose brain diseases, including uncommon conditions.

"Altogether, 4R RT-QuIC provides a practical cell-free method of detecting and subtyping pathologic 4R tau aggregates as biomarkers," wrote Byron Caughey, PhD, a senior investigator in the NIAID's Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases, and colleagues in Acta Neuropathologica. Co-authors of the study were from several other institutions inside and outside of the U.S.

In the future, the researchers plan to test larger sets of CSF samples and track abnormal tau in samples over time.

NIH-funded Lyme test promises better results, at the point of care
A rapid microfluidics assay for Lyme disease performed better than a standard lab workup and shows promise for use as a single diagnostic test at the...
NIH-funded studies aim to get to the bottom of depression, suicide
Studies exploring the biological mechanisms for suicide risk and major depressive disorder as measured in blood and tissue samples are in the works, using...
AAIC update: Where blood-based dementia tests stand in 2019
Against the shadowy backdrop of multiple failed trials in Alzheimer's disease, hope springs eternal for a reliable, noninvasive blood test for dementia,...
Blood tau test works as biomarker for deadly Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
Testing for the tau protein in blood could help predict the outlook for the rare and deadly Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a discovery that also has implications...

Copyright © 2019

Last Updated np 10/17/2019 2:34:27 PM

Register below for our weekly Letter from the Editor to receive the latest Clinical Lab news and insights.