Novel biochip array may be used to detect Alzheimer’s risk

Written by Peter Brown, Future Science Group

Researchers from Randox Teoranta (Ireland), Randox Laboratories (UK) and Medical University of Vienna (Austria) have developed a faster and economical method to identify individuals more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease utilizing a biochip-based blood test.

The research was presented recently at the 68th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo (held 31 July – 4 August , PA, USA).

The apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene plays a pivotal role within lipid metabolism; therefore, it is recognized as a significant genetic risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases. APOE exists in three common isoforms (APOE2, APOE3 and APO4).

Possessing the E4 variation of the APOE gene greatly increases an individual’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, the availability of analytical methods for reliable and rapid APOE4 classification would be advantageous.

Utilizing biochip array technology  that can determine multiple analytes from a single blood sample, this new test can accurately detect an individual’s APOE4 status, which – in conjunction with family and medical history, medication and lifestyle – could help clinicians in providing advice, information and personalizing medicine.

The study employed simultaneous chemiluminescent biochip-based immunoassays for measurement of APOE4 and total APOE from plasma samples.

Assay parameters were established using an initial cohort of 272 plasma samples of known genotype. In order to verify performance, a further cohort of 112 plasma samples of unknown genotype was utilized.

The sensitivity and specificity of the assay was established by utilizing a receiver operating characteristics curve using the combined cohort of 384 plasma samples.

Receiver operating characteristics analysis demonstrated that samples could be identified as APOE4 positive or negative with 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity, in approximately 3 hours.

“Pairing this test with medical and family history for risk of Alzheimer’s disease has the real potential to advance personalized medicine,” concluded Randox Laboratories research scientist Emma Harte.

“This fast, accurate testing will allow doctors and patients to make more informed choices earlier to potentially slow the possible progress of Alzheimer’s.”


Ward L, Doherty F, Boyle A et al. Development of a New Biochip Array for ApoE4 Classification from Plasma Samples Using Immunoassay Based Methods. Presented at:68th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo, Philadelphia, USA. 31 July July – 4 August 2016;