Sapphire Test Might Diagnose Alzheimer’s Years Before Onset

Alissa Sauer
By Alissa SauerFebruary 19, 2014

We know that Alzheimer’s may be detected through retina scans and that our eyes could predict Alzheimer’s before any other symptoms appear. In fact, researchers say that recent studies show that the retina may be the solution to early detection and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Now, a new eye testing system called Sapphire II is taking eye scanning to a new level and promises to diagnose Alzheimer’s years before symptoms occur. 

What is Sapphire II?

Developed by Alzheimer’s research company Cognoptix, Sapphire II may be able to diagnose Alzheimer’s before significant neurological damage and irreversible memory loss occurs. Classified by the FDA as a device/drug combination, the technology is a laser-based reading device and a consumable ophthalmic ointment. The company says the eye exam can be given by a general practitioner and could have results in a matter of minutes.

Essentially, if Sapphire II is successful in diagnosing Alzheimer’s, the disease could be recognized years before symptoms occur. This early detection can lead to better treatments methods and help to slow the progression of the disease considerably.

Successful Results from Clinical Trials

According to results published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease & Other Dementias, clinical trial of Sapphire II “demonstrated clinical potential” to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers used the eye scanning device in 20 patients with Alzheimer’s disease and 20 without the disease. The test was able to differentiate between the patients by detecting a beta-amyloid signature in their eyes. Beta-amyloid is a protein structure commonly present in the minds of those with Alzheimer’s.

Paul Hartung, President and CEO of Cognoptix, said,

“We are delighted with the results of this feasibility study, which demonstrates the safety and effectiveness of our product, and are honored to have our work recognized in a well-respected, peer-reviewed journal. Our vision is to help change the course of Alzheimer’s disease by enabling early diagnosis at point-of-care.”

The device is still only approved for investigative use in the United States and is undergoing clinical trials at three different sites. Cognoptix is seeking FDA clearance so that Sapphire II can be used to diagnose Alzheimer’s in people who think they may have the disease.

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Alissa Sauer

Alissa Sauer

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