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ALS and frontotemporal dementia: early diagnosis thanks to an experimental test

26 October 2020
The news research has been published in Brain Communications

A test to diagnose two very serious diseases such as ALS and FTD when the pathologies have not yet appeared, thereby providing doctors and patients with essential information tools to tackle them early and develop new treatments. A team of researchers at SISSA in association with different clinical and Italian research institutes have made a first promising step in this direction.

The protagonist of the study, published in the journal Brain Communications, is the protein TDP-43 which accumulates in brain cells in 97% of cases of ALS and in approximately 45% of those with frontotemporal dementia. This protein is therefore a possible biomarker for the diseases. In their work, the scientists developed a technique able to detect TDP-43 even when it is present in the body in minute quantities and in the earlier stages of disease, potentially in individuals who are still asymptomatic.

The researchers explain that since there are currently no treatments that can interfere with the course of the two diseases, very early detection made thanks to the presence of this protein could be of great help to develop useful drugs to stop their progression and understand their dynamics. (Image: Gerd Altmannon on Pixabay)