Partnership Yields Alzheimer’s Diagnostic Breakthrough at 2 Canadian Universities

Partnership Yields Alzheimer’s Diagnostic Breakthrough at 2 Canadian Universities
A collaboration between researchers at two universities in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in Canada has resulted in the discovery of an innovative, non-invasive diagnostic agent for Alzheimer's disease, where before such a definitive diagnosis would have been possible only from a brain autopsy. However, new findings by research teams led by Dr. Ian Pottie, a professor of chemistry and physics at Mount Saint Vincent University, and Dr. Sultan Darvesh, who holds the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation Irene MacDonald Sobey Chair in Alzheimer's Research at Dalhousie University, has yielded what the investigators describe as a breakthrough in Alzheimer's diagnostics that has "never been done before. Never,” -- a non-invasive diagnosis while patients are still alive and treatable. As Darvesh puts it in a MSVU release: "We have a solution." Darvesh, a professor in the Dalhousie University Department of Medicine (Neurology and Geriatric Medicine) and Medical Neuroscience, has invested 20 years of work on this project, the past 10 in partnership with Pottie, and with dozens of undergraduate and graduate science students at MSVU and Dalhousie who have participated over the years. Students have played a very important role in this work, Pottie said, noting that "students have been propelling this research for years, through summer and co-op work placements, honors theses, and classroom work." A neurologist and chemist, Darvesh describes on a Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation web page his abiding intuition throughout that a key to unlocking the mystery of Alzheimer's disease would be found in the brain chemistry of individuals who had died of the disease -- a conviction that has sustained his dedication to the project when he could have given up five years ago "for many,
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