Method for diagnosis and prognosis of Alzheimer's disease

Methods using miRNAs for early Alzheimer’s Disease diagnoses and altered expression of key autophagy related proteins

The Need

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the most common cause of age-related dementia leading to severe and irreversible neurodegeneration and cognitive decline. Currently, AD has no cure or effective preventive approaches. Using current diagnostic techniques, AD cannot be clinically diagnosed before the disease has progressed to dementia and the existence of the symptoms signifies that the damage is irreversible. Therefore, there is a serious need for earlier detection of AD, such as a way to detect a biomarker of early stages of AD.

The Technology

Dr. Amal Amer, a researcher from The Ohio State University, has created a method of using specific small non-coding RNAs (miRNA) as a biomarker for the early diagnosis of AD. Autophagy is a conserved, cell response found in all eukaryotic cells. This specific miRNA, when elevated, targets autophagy. The modulation of autophagy activity via high miRNA alters the expression of key autophagy proteins leading to its impairment in individuals with AD. Thus, the determination of the levels of the specific Mirs in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and in serum will help identify individuals with pre-clinical AD. Thus, the level of this miRNA in biological fluids is a diagnostic marker.

High miRNAs can be reduced by the administration of specific antagomirs. This will lead to reduction in the levels of the miRNA and improvement of autophagy, and increasing clearance of β-amyloid (Aβ) in a patient with Alzheimer’s disease, therefore can be used as therapeutic.

This technology may also be useful for treating other related diseases.

Commercial Applications

  • Early detection and treatment of AD
  • Preventative medicine for AD
  • Wide-ranging biomedical therapies


  • Allows detection of AD before irreversible damage manifests
  • Provides pre-clinical AD diagnosis
  • Provide prognostic marker for improvement of autophagy

Loading icon