Exosomes, microscopic packets that can contain genetic material, are shed by different tissues into the blood. By sequencing microRNA within exosomes originating in the brain, it is now possible to definitively distinguish blood samples of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (Lou Gehrig’s disease) patients from healthy controls, a team of researchers at the Brain Chemistry Labs (Jackson Hole, Wyoming) reported on June 24, 2020 in an article published in Royal Society Open Biology. The open-access article is titled ““An miRNA Fingerprint Using Neural-Enriched Extracellular Vesicles from Blood Plasma: Towards a Biomarker for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis/Motor Neuron Disease.” ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that typically affects people in the prime of life. "We think this is a game-changer: the methods we have pioneered will lead to the ability to rapidly diagnose ALS from a single blood draw, compared to current scientific measures where patients may have to wait for over a year for a confirmed diagnosis," says Sandra Banack (photo below; baseball star Lou Gehrig who died of ALS, is shown at left) (https://brainchemistrylabs.org/new-page-1), PhD, Brain Chemistry Labs Senior Scientist and first author on the new paper. "People with ALS typically live an average of two to three years after diagnosis, so a rapid assessment is crucial." The new test is based on exosomes, which are microscopic packets that can contain genetic material and are shed by different tissues in the body. The researchers purified brain exosomes from blood plasma by targeting a unique protein on the exosome surface.
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