Aethlon Medical and its New Jersey-based diagnostic subsidiary Exosome Sciences (ESI) have established a clinical collaboration with the Boston University (BU) CTE Center to advance a blood-based diagnostic candidate that could identify Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in living individuals.
CTE is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that has been found at autopsy in former National Football League (NFL) players. At present, CTE can only be diagnosed through postmortem autopsy.
Aethlon Medical develops targeted therapeutic devices to address infectious disease, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. ESI (Aethlon subsidiary) develops exosome-based solutions to diagnose and monitor cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Earlier this year, Aethlon disclosed that ESI researchers had successfully isolated exosome-based biomarkers transporting tau protein across the blood-brain barrier and into the circulatory system. The hallmark of CTE is an excess of accumulation of tau in the brain.
In the study, ESI researchers are evaluating and defining exosome and exosomal tau populations in blood samples collected from participants enrolled in the DETECT (Diagnosing and Evaluating Traumatic Encephalopathy Using Clinical Tests) study, under the direction of Dr. Robert Stern, director of clinical research at the BU CTE Center.
The DETECT study is the first research project on CTE ever funded by the NIH, with support from the National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The ultimate goal of the study is to develop methods, including blood-based tests, that could diagnose CTE during life. The study has enrolled former NFL players, ages 40-69, and same-age "control" athletes who played non-contact sports.