Physicians predict blood tests will revolutionize Alzheimer's disease treatment, Quest Diagnostics finds

A majority of physicians believe medicine is on the verge of groundbreaking new treatments for Alzheimer's disease, according to research from Quest Diagnostics.

Quest's report surveyed 501 primary care providers and 2,052 American adults, the company said May 2. It found that 77 percent of physicians surveyed believe new treatments will turn Alzheimer's into a manageable disease, and 84 percent believe early testing for Alzheimer's risk will lead to earlier and improved management of the disease.

Half of physicians surveyed do not think Alzheimer's will ever have a cure. However, nearly all believe that blood tests will become the standard of care, will help identify patients for clinical trials, and will improve the quality and speed of clinical trials.

"We are on the cusp of a new generation of therapies for Alzheimer's disease, but the important role of diagnostics has been missing from the conversation," Quest's Neurology Medical Director Michael Racke, MD, said. "Patients today are typically screened for Alzheimer's disease only after signs of cognitive impairment emerge and often by expensive methods, such as brain imaging and cerebrospinal fluid taps, which only specialists can perform."

The discovery of Alzheimer's biomarkers has led to new avenues of drug research and development, with more than 100 disease-modifying therapies now in clinical trials. Nearly 20 are currently in phase 3 trials, Quest said.

"Our goal for this report is to help prepare the medical community and engaged patients and caregivers for the transformational healthcare shifts that must occur to unleash the full potential of future treatment and diagnostic innovations to improve outcomes for patients with Alzheimer's disease," Dr. Racke said.

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