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Clemson awarded $3.2M to develop blood test for Alzheimer’s

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Clemson University is seeking healthy older adults to volunteer for a study called Preventing Alzheimer’s with Cognitive Training. This study examines whether computerized brain training exercises can reduce the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Additional funding of $3.2 million was awarded to further investigate if Alzheimer’s disease can be detected early through simple blood tests, according to a university news release. The grant from the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, expands Clemson’s PACT study. The PACT study will now work with the National Centralized Repository for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias to analyze blood specimens collected from study participants.

The PACT study is recruiting volunteers aged 65 and older with no signs of cognitive impairment or dementia, the release said. Those interested in the study may participate in initial testing at the Clemson University’s Institute for Engaged Aging at Prisma Health Oconee Memorial Hospital in Seneca. Participants may also join the study at the University of Florida, University of North Florida, University of South Florida, or Duke University. PACT participants may now volunteer to provide blood samples that will be used to develop tests for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.

“We need another 400 healthy older adults to volunteer for the PACT study,” said principal investigator Lesley Ross, SmartLIFE Endowed Chair in Aging and Cognition in the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences and director of the Clemson University Institute for Engaged Aging and associate professor of psychology at Clemson University.

“We are very grateful for the 250 volunteers who have already joined our fight against Alzheimer’s disease by enrolling in PACT,” she said in the release. “The additional funds will enable us to further our goal of understanding and ending Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in the future. I am excited to bring this study to the Seneca and surrounding communities and further the Clemson University Institute of Engaged Aging’s mission of conducting groundbreaking research and providing opportunities to the community.”

More information is available at the PACT study website, pactstudy.org.

The Clemson University PACT study concentrates on the effectiveness of computerized programs, or brain games, for preventing dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, the release said. At the end of the PACT trial, the scientists will examine the blood samples from willing participants and determine which specific blood-based biomarkers predict Alzheimer’s disease, the severity of the disease, or responsiveness to treatment.

Reach Ross Norton at 864-720-1222.

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