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Researchers Find Tau Aggregate-Specific Biomarker in Alzheimer's Disease

Researchers have uncovered a new biomarker for tau aggregates that can be detected within cerebrospinal fluid, which they say could help gauge the effect of tau-targeted Alzheimer's disease therapies. Since previous research had suggested a link between MTBR-tau243 and tau aggregation —one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease — researchers from the US, Sweden, and the Netherlands compare in a new study in Nature Medicine the presence of MTBR-tau243 as a biomarker with PET imaging of tau and amyloid as well as with other measures of phosphorylated tau (p-tau). Within two cohorts tested, MTBR-tau243 was strongly associated with tau-PET and cognition, and appeared to increase longitudinally with insoluble tau aggregates, in contrast to CSF p-tau. The researchers further note that MTBR-tau243 had a limited association with amyloid-PET, setting it apart from other disease markers that can be influenced by amyloid and suggesting MTBR-tau243 is a tau aggregate-specific biomarker. "Based on these results, our study suggests that CSF MTBR-tau243 may be a viable alternative to tau-PET for use as a pre-screening tool or a tau pathology end point surrogate for clinical trials and also as an accurate diagnostic measure of tau pathology," the researchers write.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.