Drug development for neurodegenerative brain diseases such as Parkinson’s or dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is the most common form, needs to focus on patients early in the disease, not those where brain damage has already occurred.
Diagnosing and treating patients more effectively earlier will, even if you aren’t able to instigate a cure, offer the ability to modify the disease progression and slow or delay when brain damage occurs. In the case of Alzheimer’s, once the amyloid plaques (tangles of misshapen proteins) have accumulated in nervous tissue, it has so far been impossible to untangle or remove them.
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What is a Biomarker?
According to the Biomarkers Definitions Working Group, a biomarker is:
“a characteristic that is objectively measured and evaluated as an indicator of normal biologic processes, pathogenic processes, or pharmacologic responses to a therapeutic intervention.”
An example of a common biomarker is blood pressure. High blood pressure is a surrogate for cardiovascular disease and risk of stroke.
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