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Course Correction on the Path to Liquid Brain Biopsies

By June 23, 2021No Comments

A new collaborative study by David Walt, Ph.D.’s and George Church, Ph.D.’s teams at the Wyss Institute shows that a commonly targeted protein that researchers hoped would allow them to obtain liquid biopsies of neuronal tissue in the brain from patients’ blood does not live up to the task. Their findings, published in Nature Methods, signal that alternative approaches need to be developed to move the field forward. The diagnosis and monitoring of brain diseases – including neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, a variety of mental disorders, as well as brain tumors – remains a Herculean challenge. Brain biopsies cannot be easily performed, and much of the understanding of what causes and advances brain diseases is based on postmortem tissue analysis, which obviously does not help living patients.