OIC portfolio company Cytox launches genoSCORE-LAB test to predict the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease
OIC portfolio company Cytox launches a non-invasive genetic test enabling physicians to assess an individual’s risk of cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s from a simple saliva sample provided from home.
Excitingly, the test can guide lifestyle interventions to potentially slow disease progression.
Oxford-based Cytox, which provides non-invasive, risk assessment and patient stratification tools for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and dementia, has launched its new genetic test, genoSCORE-LAB, which can predict the risk of an individual’s cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s disease.
The test analyses an individual’s genetics against 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. This broad genetic analysis enables the test to generate an overall risk of cognitive decline due to the 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. As such, genoSCORE-LAB offers an easy to access alternative to existing invasive lumbar puncture tests, and expensive scanning procedures.
Dr Richard Pither, CEO of Cytox, commented: “While there are many exciting drug candidates in development to treat Alzheimer’s disease, a comprehensive suite of effective therapeutics is still some years away. However, research has shown that lifestyle changes can significantly mitigate the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, delay the onset of symptoms and slow the rate of disease progression. Cytox’s new test can identify those patients most at risk of cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s, enabling them to take decisive action to manage their disease progression.”
The risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease has several components. Depending on an individual’s genetics, they may have been born with a higher or lower risk of developing the disease. This genetic risk remains constant, but overall risk increases with age. However, this is not the whole story and other external factors can also contribute to the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline. Fortunately, there are many positive steps people can take that have the potential to delay the onset of the disease.
With modifiable factors accounting for more than 30% of the risk for Alzheimer’s, the adoption of behaviours to monitor and treat factors such as hypertension, type II diabetes, elevated cholesterol and smoking, has the potential to extend the time of onset and rate of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease patients.
Prof Clive Ballard, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Medicine at the University of Exeter notes: “Globally an estimated 10 million people develop dementia each year, with more than half as Alzheimer’s disease. The economic impact of the disease is estimated at trillions of dollars a year, and is rising. genoSCORE-LAB has a valuable role to play in both the management of people with dementia, and the critical work to develop new drugs to treat the disease.”
Additionally, genoSCORE-LAB enables developers of new Alzheimer’s disease drug therapies to identify and recruit patients to clinical studies, ensuring the selection of the most suitable candidates, namely those most likely to experience cognitive decline over the time period of the study.