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NEW TEST WILL AID IN THE DIAGNOSIS OF ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE, SAYS RESEARCH REPORT FROM SIBIA AND THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE

 NEW TEST WILL AID IN THE DIAGNOSIS OF ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE, SAYS RESEARCH REPORT FROM SIBIA AND THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE
 LA JOLLA, Calif., April 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Researchers have developed a promising new clinical test that they believe will greatly facilitate the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. It should also permit more rapid development of therapeutic treatments for this disease. The research findings were reported in the April 1 issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) by SIBIA Inc. of La Jolla and the University of California, Irvine.
 "Currently, a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease can only be confirmed at autopsy," said Dr. William T. Comer, SIBIA president and chief executive officer, "and clinical predictions are at best about 85 percent accurate in even the most sophisticated medical centers. This new assay should be an extremely useful addition to clinical tests currently used to diagnose the disease."
 The research showed that certain protein fragments normally found in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were approximately 3.5 times lower in Alzheimer's patients than in a healthy control group. These protein fragments are derived from the amyloid beta-precursor protein (ABPP) and are termed "soluble APP" in the PNAS article.
 "A diagnostic test measuring soluble APP in the CSF of suspected Alzheimer's patients will provide doctors with quantitative biochemical information on molecules that appear to be intimately involved in the disease process," Comer said.
 The study was performed on CSF samples from a group of patients that had been carefully evaluated previously with the best diagnostic procedures currently available, including psychometric testing and brain scans. By these techniques, the group was divided into two classes: probable Alzheimer's disease patients, and demented but non-Alzheimer's disease patients (e.g., patients whose dementia was due to stroke or other causes). A control group of non-demented, healthy, age-matched individuals was also included. The test was able to clearly distinguish the Alzheimer's disease patients from the demented non-Alzheimer's and normal control groups.
 "The mean CSF levels of soluble APP were approximately 3.5 fold lower in the patients diagnosed with probably Alzheimer's disease compared to the demented non-Alzheimer-type control group or the healthy group," Comer said. "These findings suggest that the determination of levels of soluble APP provides useful biochemical information to assist in the clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease."
 In other studies presented April 1 at the Keystone Symposium on Neurodegenerative Disorders in Big Sky, Mont., Dr. Steven L. Wagner of SIBIA and Dr. William Van Nostrand of the University of California, Irvine, reported similar findings in autopsy-confirmed Alzheimer's patients and individuals with mutations in their ABPP genes.
 These studies were done in collaboration with researchers and clinicians at leading hospitals nationwide, including the University of Washington, Mount Sinai/Bronx, VA Medical Center, Indiana University School of Medicine, UCLA Medical Center and the John Douglas French Center for Alzheimer's Disease in Los Alamitos, Calif.
 Alzheimer's disease leads to a progressive and irreversible loss of memory and cognitive function in affected individuals. It is the most common cause of dementia and is primarily a disease of the elderly. It afflicts greater than five percent of the population over 65 years old and its incidence increases with age. It has been estimated that close to 4 million people in the United States alone are afflicted with Alzheimer's disease, with that number expected to grow to between 6 million and 10 million by 2040.
 SIBIA Inc. is a privately held biotechnology company founded in 1981 by the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. The company is developing novel diagnostic and therapeutic products for neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy and stroke, based on its unique approach to the processes underlying these disorders. SIBIA's principal shareholders are the Salk Institute and Skandigen AB of Sweden.
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 /CONTACT: Michael Dunn of SIBIA, 619-452-5892; or Joe Charest of The Gable Group, 619-234-1300, for SIBIA/ CO: SIBIA Inc. ST: California IN: MTC SU:


DM-JL -- SD003 -- 3735 04/01/92 09:01 EST
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Date:Apr 1, 1992
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