Researchers at VIB, in Brussels, Belgium, are looking to licence a test that measures the circulating blood levels of the frontotemporal dementia (FTD)-causing mediator progranulin. This technology can be used for early detection and prediction of the risk of FTD.
VIB, the Born-Bunge Institute and the University of Antwerp have collaborated to identify the growth factor progranulin as a major marker for FTD. This mediator is found in the blood and promotes brain cell survival, and the lower the levels the higher the risk of developing FTD due to increased death of frontal lobe brain cells.
The invention allows the measurement of porgranulin in the blood of people thought to be at risk of FTD prior to the appearance of symptoms. The method is a simple blood test that can be used at large scale and avoids the need for complex genetic testing.