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AAIC 2022 | Research priorities to achieve widespread use of blood-based biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease

Pamela Lukasewicz Ferreira, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, shares her thoughts on the rapidly progressing field of plasma biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and their implementation into clinical practice. Hundreds of studies have emerged in recent years that have aimed to characterize and validate several blood-based biomarkers and ready them for daily use in the real-world. These include plasma Aβ42/Aβ40, phosphorylated tau (p-tau181, p-tau217, andp-tau231), and neurofilament light. While the Alzheimer’s Association has recently published appropriate use recommendations for blood biomarkers in AD, much more data is needed before they can be used as stand-alone diagnostic markers or used in a primary care setting. For example, assay standardization is a key priority. Currently, there are numerous platforms available to measure the same marker and head-to-head comparisons have revealed variability in the results achieved. Continued comparative investigations and the development of reference materials for the most promising assays are important next steps. Additionally, conducting research in diverse and representative populations is crucial prior to global implementation, to understand better how these markers vary in different populations. Establishing the best plasma biomarker combinations, examining confounders and biological variation, determining clinical robustness, and refining pre-analytical protocols are additional research needs. This interview took place at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2022 in San Diego, CA.