Student Profile

Samantha Swarbrick

Companion diagnostic tool for Alzheimer’s disease (cell) therapy developments.

PhD Supervisor(s): Sourav Ghosh; Alexandra Stolzing.


PhD Summary

Availability of a rapid and low cost diagnostic tool for Alzheimer’s disease would allow for effective patient screening and stratification in clinical trials, and clinical management through efficacy monitoring of a cell therapy. Moreover, as a diagnostic tool at the home or in the clinic, it would allow early diagnosis, and timely and appropriate therapeutic intervention. However, the state-of-the-art diagnostics of Alzheimer’s disease, based on Magnetic Resonance Tomography (MRT) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET), are costly, skill demanding and unfavourable for rapid point-of-care (POC) use.

The recent identification of potential micro-RNA biomarkers in the blood from Alzheimer’s patients suggests the scope for having rapid POC biomarker based diagnostics of Alzheimer’s. This project aims at the development of a rapid and accurate micro-RNA based Alzheimer’s detection tool that can integrate all the steps from sample processing to a quantitative electronic read out at the point of care. The anharmonic detection technique (ADT)#, which has recently shown the feasibility for rapid and accurate detection of small molecules in sandwich assay will be employed in this project. The comparison of known human miRNA profiles with the expression in mice will allow to translate therapies developed in pre-clinical models without further adaption using the same set of biomarkers.

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