SYNAPS Dx, a company focused on the research, development, and commercialization of a diagnostic test for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), appointed a group of physicians, neuroscientists, and leaders in neurodegenerative disease to its newly formed Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), reinforcing commitment in the Alzheimer’s disease diagnostics industry. 

The new members of the SAB will expand research and market development of the company’s proprietary, highly accurate Alzheimer’s DISCERN test: an autopsy-validated skin test to demonstrate high specificity and sensitivity distinguishing the disease from non-Alzheimer’s disease in people recently diagnosed with dementia, even those living with mixed-dementia.

  • Alberto J. Espay, MD, MSc, chairman of the SAB, has over 300 published peer-reviewed research articles and 10 books on neurodegenerative diseases. He offers a deep knowledge of neurology, including the direction of the first biomarker study of aging ( designed to match people with neurodegenerative disorders to available therapies from which they are most biologically suitable to benefit, regardless of their clinical diagnoses.
  • David G. Morgan, PhD, director, Alzheimer’s Alliance and MSU Foundation Professor of Translational Neuroscience at Michigan State University. He studies Alzheimer’s disease, aging, brain function, immunotherapy and gene therapy to treat the Alzheimer-related pathologies.
  • Giulio Taglialatela, PhD, serves as the vice chair for research of the Department of Neurology and the director of the UTMB Mitchell Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases. He is also the inaugural director of the newly established UTMB Brain Health Institute under the auspice of which all clinical and basic research neuroscience at UTMB will be located.
  • Lon S. Schneider, MD, MS, is professor of psychiatry, neurology, and gerontology at Keck School of Medicine and Leonard Davis School of Gerontology of the USC; and holds the Della Martin Endowed Chair in Psychiatry and Neuroscience. He directs the USC California AD Center (Dep. of Health) and co-directs the clinical core of the USC NIA AD Research Center.

“We hand-picked these individuals who have made significant contributions and pioneered breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s research and therapeutics, and together, they bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise to SDx,” says Paul Tanico, chief strategy officer and executive chairman, SDx. “We are honored to partner with such exceptional thought leaders who are shaping the future of brain health and advancing the biology of memory. Getting an accurate AD diagnosis with the DISCERN test is critically important because treatment options for patients are specific and distinct compared to treatments for patients with other forms of non-Alzheimer’s dementia.”

Further reading: How AI is Helping Early Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Become a Reality

The Alzheimer’s DISCERN test is administered as a single skin biopsy by a clinician and is readily accessible in the community office setting. The test informs physicians about prescribing new, FDA-approved drugs for Alzheimer’s disease and supports alternative care plans, including lifestyle changes, that can improve outcomes for patients with non-Alzheimer’s dementia or mild cognitive impairment, reduce costs, and reduce caregiver burdens.

DISCERN is comprised of three different autopsy-validated assays that assess several critical factors directly related to Alzheimer’s disease that regulate memory, the formation of synaptic connections among neurons, the levels of amyloid plaques and levels of neurofibrillary tangles in the brain, according to the company. The MI assay is based on measuring an ensemble of multiple factors such as inflammation, synaptic growth and neuronal death that can be detected in skin fibroblasts. Complementary to the MI assay, the protein kinase C (PKCε) assay includes fibroblasts from the skin biopsy that are cultured and analyzed using the ELISA to measure PKCε levels in relation to Aβ exposure in the brain. The AD-biomarker index also composes one of the three assays and tests skin fibroblasts from biopsies to culture to confluency.

Photos: SYNAPS Dx