Funds Awarded for Work on Alzheimer's Diagnostics

Scout Diagnostics, a company targeting early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, recently received matching funds of $435,600 to support developing a laboratory test to detect and confirm Alzheimer’s disease in its earliest stages. Scout was formed in 2006 by University of Kentucky chemistry professors and Sanders-Brown Center on Aging researchers Mark Lovell and Bert Lynn, along with CEO John Beran.

The funds were awarded through Kentucky's competitive SBIR-STTR Matching Funds program, through which the state matches federal SBIR-STTR awards received by Kentucky companies and those willing to relocate to Kentucky. The STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) award to Scout Diagnostics will match federal funds previously awarded.

Lovell and Lynn have been working for some time with biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease. They have identified specific markers for Alzheimer's in cerebrospinal fluid. The potential exists for researchers to develop a diagnostic test for early Alzheimer's using analysis of spinal fluid samples. This would be a significant development, as existing treatments for Alzheimer's disease are most effective if started extremely early in the progression of the disease — often before clinical signs of cognitive impairment are apparent.

“Kentucky’s unique matching awards program is the envy of the nation as it helps support our high-tech firms and create hundreds of new high-tech jobs across the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “The Kentucky companies receiving our matching state funds have already had their research reviewed by federal experts and were found to have very promising technologies with excellent opportunities for commercialization.”

"We were very pleased to hear of this award for the cutting-edge research that Dr. Lovell and his team at Scout Diagnostics are doing," said Linda Van Eldik, director of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. "A reliable biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease is desperately needed to identify individuals very early in the disease process, so that therapeutic interventions can begin when they may be most effective, before memory problems develop."

Article Date: 4/25/2011
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