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2013 Grants - Davtyan
Detection of B Cells Producing Antibodies: A Novel Blood Test for AD
Hayk Davtyan, Ph.D.
The Institute for Molecular Medicine
Huntington Beach, California
2013 New Investigator Research Grant
The protein fragment beta-amyloid is a key suspect in Alzheimer's disease. This fragment tends to accumulate in clumps between brain cells called plaques, which are a hallmark of Alzheimer's. However, current research suggests beta-amyloid is most toxic during the earliest stages of accumulation, long before clinical symptoms of Alzheimer's occur. Therefore, Alzheimer's research has shifted its focus on understanding how toxic beta-amyloid begins to accumulate in the brain.
According to preliminary research by Hayk Davtyan, Ph.D., and colleagues, people with Alzheimer's disease have abnormal blood levels of immune system proteins that are used to destroy unwanted beta-amyloid. These proteins are known as anti-amyloid antibodies, and they are produced by white blood cells called B cells. For this project, the researchers will use a novel test called an enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISPOT) assay to measure the number of B cells that produce anti-amyloid antibodies in people with and without Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Davtyan's team hopes to determine clear differences between the two groups in the level of these B cells. Such work could lead to a novel blood test for diagnosing Alzheimer's disease at its earliest stages.