Plasma versus neuroimaging biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials

Pamela Lukasewicz Ferreira, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, compares the use of plasma biomarkers against the use of neuroimaging to identify Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology in clinical trials. Firstly, the cost of neuroimaging techniques, such as PET scans, can reach $3000-5000 with other additional costs such as the clinical assessment; whereas, for plasma tests it costs approximately $200. On the other hand, plasma biomarkers require a much higher sample size, and consequently the overall cost will be higher in comparison to imaging. However, it is more simple to use plasma biomarkers than imaging techniques, since blood samples can be collected from patients at home, rather than spending long amounts of time at specialist facilities to carry out MRIs and PET scans. Another factor to consider is the location of the trial: whether there is access to specialized facilities for neuroimaging, and whether large scale recruitment is feasible. In conclusion, the budget for the trial, accessibility of large sample sizes, and accessibility of specialized neuroimaging facilities all need to be considered. This interview took place at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2022 in San Diego, CA.
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