Using the eye as a window into Alzheimer’s disease
The ability to non-invasively visualise neurons and blood vessels is an attribute unique to the eye. This window provides unparalleled insight into general health, as many systemic diseases have manifestations in the eye, including diabetes and hypertension. Thus the eye and imaging the neurovascular retina represents an attractive biomarker for systemic disease. Alzheimer’s disease is in desperate need of a viable biomarker, the development of which is the aim of this proposal. The annual economic cost of Alzheimer’s disease is US$600 billion but at present the only definitive diagnosis is post-mortem confirmation of plaques in the brain. Advances in PET imaging and CSF assays show promise as biomarkers however PET is expensive and CSF invasive for widespread use. Recent clinical findings suggest that successful treatment needs to start in the prodromal stages of the disease, thus making it imperative to have an early biomarker. Furthermore, the inability to make early diagnosis and monitor disease progression frustrates the development of cures. An inexpensive, early and quantitative marker of disease is essential for correctly targeting patients and developing effective treatments to combat this devastating illness. This project will develop structural and functional non-invasive biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease in a rodent eye. These technologies will be primed for clinical translation enabling assessment in humans.
- Dr Vickie Wong
- Mr Jeremiah Lim (PhD student)
ARC Linkage LP160100126