SUNY Research Foundation Background
At present, there is no single test approved for use in clinical settings capable of diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease. Instead, diagnosis requires a combination of many different tests and exams, including a complete medical exam, mental status tests, neurological exams, and brain imaging. This is time consuming, expensive, and often invasive. A definitive method for diagnosing the disease as early as possible in its progression, before neurodegeneration becomes too severe, would be of significant value to the medical community.
Raman spectroscopy in combination with advanced statistical analysis have been used by University at Albany researchers to analyze saliva samples collected from healthy individuals and individuals with either Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment. Genetic Algorithm (GA) and Artificial Neural Network (ANN) advanced statistical methods analyze the spectral data collected from the saliva samples. The resulting classification model provides over 98% accuracy in correctly predicting the diagnosis of the patient. The results have been further validated using external blind test. The development of this novel methodology for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease shows great promise.
Stage of Development
Technology Readiness Level (TRL): 3. Experimental Proof of Concept.
Quick and easy: Alzheimer’s is diagnosed through a single saliva test.
Non-invasive: Patients are not stressed or made uncomfortable since the test only requires that the patient provide a saliva sample.
Accurate results: The test provides accurate indication for the presence of Alzheimer’s, early in the progression of the disease. This allows more time to take measures that could improve the patient quality of life.
A point-of-care test for the clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or other cognitive disease is the primary application for this technology. In the future, the patient could use a cellphone type instrument connected to the cloud to conduct the test at home.
It may be possible to adapt this method to detect other disorders and conditions as well.
The global market for Alzheimer’s diagnostics exceeds $3 billion USD (see https://www.verifiedmarketresearch.com/product/alzheimers-diagnostics-market/). Considering the potentially disruptive nature of a saliva test for detecting Alzheimer’s, it is possible this technology could quickly capture a substantial share of this market.
The technology is available for licensing.