Lausanne, Switzerland - September 23rd, 2015 - This month has seen another major step forward in Nestlé’s commitment to brain research and the battle against Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences SA (NIHS), a fundamental research institute of the global nutrition, health and wellness company Nestlé, has signed a research collaboration agreement with AC Immune SA – a leading Lausanne-based biopharmaceutical company focused on neurodegenerative diseases. The aim of the collaboration is to develop a sensitive, minimally invasive Tau diagnostic assay for early Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by applying Nestlé’s proprietary multiplexed ultrasensitive antibody technology platform.
Tangles of Tau proteins are recognised as one of two major hallmarks of neurodegeneration, the other being beta-amyloid (Abeta) plaques. Tangles and other abnormal forms of Tau protein accumulate inside the brain cells and spread between cells of people with Alzheimer’s disease over a long period of time. It is now well established that Tau correlates well with cognitive decline and disease progression. Furthermore, Tau may develop into a suitable biomarker for early diagnosis of the disease.
“This collaboration agreement opens up exciting new possibilities in the quest to better understand and combat this debilitating disease”, comments Ed Baetge, Head of NIHS. “By bringing together our ultrasensitive next-generation diagnostic platform and AC Immune’s expertise in the field, we hope to develop a minimally invasive Tau diagnostic using patients’ blood which can identify Alzheimer’s patients at a very early, and potentially pre-symptomatic, stage of the disease.”
Andrea Pfeifer, CEO of AC Immune, commented: “The development of a minimally invasive diagnostic test to identify patients at very early stages is considered as one of the most pressing needs in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease”.
Ed Baetge added: “Our overarching goal at NIHS is to develop nutritional approaches and technologies that help people maintain or improve their cognitive vigour especially for early diagnosis and targeted intervention to combat this global health problem”.
About Nestlé’s proprietary multiplexed ultrasensitive triplex antibody technology:
Nestlé’s technology is a patented diagnostic antibody-based platform capable of measuring soluble proteins with high sensitivity and specificity. The technology was developed by Prometheus Laboratories Inc., a Nestlé Health Science company. Since 2013, NIHS has applied it in Brain Health research, specifically in Alzheimer’s. The assay uses a triplex antibody microarray-based platform that measures the expression and activation of target proteins in tissues, blood or other fluids.
About Alzheimer’s Disease:
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the biggest burdens on society and individual sufferers and their families, with 9.9 million new cases of dementia each year. Worldwide, there are currently estimated to be 46.8 million people living with dementia – a figure which is expected to triple by 2050. The estimated annual cost to society currently stands at US$818 billion, with AD now the sixth leading cause of death in the USA. Early diagnosis of the disease would be an important step forward in a more holistic approach to managing and ultimately preventing Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases through a combination of therapeutics and nutrition.
NIHS is a biomedical research institute, part of the Nestlé’s global R&D network, dedicated to fundamental research aimed at understanding health and disease and developing science-based targeted nutritional solutions for the maintenance of health. To achieve its aim, NIHS employs state-of-the-art technologies and biological models to characterise health and disease with a holistic and integrated approach. The ultimate goal of the Institute is to develop knowledge that can empower people to better maintain their health through nutritional approaches, especially in relation to their molecular profile and lifestyle status.
For enquiries, please contact:
Laura Camurri, Communications, NIHS