The technology could facilitate earlier diagnosis of the disease.
RetiSpec, a medical imaging company, today announced that the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation awarded it up to $500,000 to fund the development of retinal imaging technology for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.
The funding included a direct investment in RetiSpec.
The technology uses hyperspectral imagery to rapidly and cost-effectively identify Alzheimer’s biomarkers years before clinical symptoms emerge, RetiSpec said.
The retinal imaging technology detects changes in biomarkers associated with elevated cerebral amyloid beta levels early in the disease process, including before the onset of clinical symptoms, researchers found in preclinical studies and a pilot human study.
“We are focused on bringing to market a noninvasive, easy to use, screening technology that can change when and how we detect Alzheimer’s disease at its earliest stages, including before a patient presents with symptoms,” said Eliav Shaked, M.Sc., CEO of RetiSpec. “Early detection provides an important window of opportunity for timely therapeutic interventions that can slow or even prevent the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.”
Developed by Robert Vince, Ph.D., and Swati More, Ph.D., at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Drug Design, the technology could facilitate early diagnosis and improve the lives of patients and their families. What’s more, the technology could save the healthcare system money and resources, the company said. The technology also has the potential to make clinical trials for the disease more efficient.
Many patients prefer eye scans for early diagnosis compared to a PET scan, which could expose the patient to discomfort and radiation, or an invasive spinal tap, said Sharon Cohen, M.D., neurologist and principal investigator at Toronto Memory Program.
“We believe that RetiSpec’s retinal scanner stands out and show promise as a unique diagnostic tool among a range of technologies in development,” said Howard Fillit, M.D., founding executive director and chief science officer of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation.
Other technologies, like virtual reality tools, have also proven to be effective in identifying early Alzheimer’s disease.
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