Cytox Awarded New Innovate UK Funding for Alzheimer’s Testing
The project will evaluate and validate the clinical utility of a customised SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) panel associated with the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The team comprises Professors Valentina Escott-Price and Julie Williams of Cardiff University and Cytox.
“We are delighted to be awarded further funding by Innovate UK,” commented Dr Richard Pither, CEO of Cytox, “The previous award has enabled support for projects to date, and the subsequent commercialisation has been pivotal to the growth of the company. This new funding reaffirms the validity of our approach in this highly important area. We are also pleased to be collaborating with Cardiff University. We have been working with Professor Escott-Price as our AD statistical expert for a few years now, and welcome Professor Julie Williams, who is of course pre-eminent in the field of Alzheimer’s disease genetics research and currently one of the four leaders of the IGAP genetics consortium.”
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may be a prodromal state for AD and 50-60% of these patients are at high risk of progression to AD, however current prognostic methods for AD are only 25-30% accurate in early MCI. The lack of validated biomarkers hampers clinical management of these patients and also the development of new therapies. The project will develop, optimise and test a set of polygenic risk score (PRS) approaches and then implement them on Cytox's own proprietary software platform. Subsequently the algorithms will be tested in large cohorts of patients and cognitively normal subjects, such as the recently well characterised 500 patient subset of the 1946 birth cohort, to demonstrate the validity of a panel of identified at-risk AD biomarkers. The project aim is to confirm that a proprietary SNP panel and associated algorithm is an effective method for predicting the presence of AD pathology. Such a prognostic test is essential to enable meaningful clinical trials of emergent AD therapies.