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April Specimen Spotlight: Biospecimens for Alzheimer’s Research

April 5, 2018

An estimated 5.7 million Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2018, according to just-released facts and figures from the Alzheimer’s Association. By 2025, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s dementia is estimated to reach 7.1 million – an increase of almost 29 percent from the 5.5 million age 65 and older affected in 2018.

Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the most common form of dementia, and progressively affects memory, thinking and behavior. There is no cure yet.

Several of our clients are tackling this formidable challenge. Among them is a West Coast biotech company analyzing pathways that trigger neurodegeneration in order to develop new molecular therapeutics.

The company recently placed an order with iSpecimen for biofluids from 10 Alzheimer’s patients. The company needed matched sets of cerebrospinal fluid and plasma samples from each patient. Specific data was required for each sample, including the patient’s age, gender, collection date and disease stage.

Despite the modest specimen quantity, requests like this one can be challenging to fill. It can be painful to donate cerebrospinal fluid and obtaining consent can be difficult, if not impossible, for some Alzheimer’s patients because the disease and dementia often impairs cognition. Fortunately, we’ve worked to develop a robust supplier network accessible through the iSpecimen Marketplace. A health-care organization in the Southeastern region of the United States had such samples available and ready to ship immediately.

As a result, critical research that might otherwise have been deferred was able to proceed without delay. And that’s important because, as Bill Gates has noted, Alzheimer’s is a tragic disease. And for now, Alzheimer’s stops for no one.

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