First Choice Neurology (FCN), the largest neurology group in the U.S. with more than 41 facilities in six Florida counties and services at 35 major hospitals, has partnered with U.K-based Cytox to become the first practice in the United States to offer patients, ages 18-80, a simple saliva test to determine future risk of Alzheimer’s.
According to FCN Miami-based neurologist Dr. Jeff Gelblum, this risk test called genoSCORE™ could transform physicians’ ability to predict and manage this dreaded disease. “This new genetic test is FDA cleared and analyses 100,000 different genes,” he explained. “Tests like 23andme are like the Chevys of genetic testing, as they use only one gene marker for Alzheimer’s and are not reliable predictors. This new test is like a Mercedes, giving us actionable knowledge to be able to help patients manage their health.”
“Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 46 million people in the world,” he continued. “We see this new test as a powerful tool to guide patients toward effective lifestyle and therapeutic interventions that can have a significant impact on delaying the onset of disease symptoms and cognitive decline.”
FCN physicians will be using the results from the genoSCORE non-invasive, genetic test to assess the risk of cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). A simple saliva sample will help assess patients for the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, before symptoms arise, and prior to invasive cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) testing or expensive scanning techniques. The test kits, which cost $599 and are not currently covered by insurance, can be easily administered at home.
For patients fearing negative results, Dr. Gelblum has reassuring advice. “A number of clinic trials are currently in progress that give pre-symptomatic patients the ability to access promising new drug therapies,” he said. “There are a number of drugs in the pipeline that are designed to support at risk individuals.”
He adds that lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, also have significant positive results for those testing for high risk of Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Richard Pither, CEO of Cytox, who announced that FCN is the first U.S. distributor of the test, said that his company is delighted to support patients in Florida and beyond through this partnership.
“At Cytox our mission is to transform how people are managed within the Alzheimer’s disease care pathway. Our genoSCORE technology, which powers the Sampled Alzheimer’s Risk Test, enables physicians to make immediate decisions about their patients’ risk of cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s disease.”
About First Choice Neurology (www.fcneurology.net)
With its corporate headquarters in Medley, Florida, First Choice Neurology (FCN) offers neurology services as well as diagnostic and rehabilitative services with the mission to improve quality while providing those services in a cost-effective manner to the communities they serve. The medical group of neurologists, neuropsychologists, therapists, and nurse practitioners began serving patients in 2004 in response to South Florida’s increasing need for high-quality neurology services. FCN serves both adult and pediatric patients with a wide variety of neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, epilepsy, migraines, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, sleep disorders and strokes. Additional subspecialties include neuromuscular disorders, pain management, neuropsychology, neuroradiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation.
About Cytox (www.cytoxgroup.com)
Without new drug therapies, the economic and healthcare cost burden of dementia – including Alzheimer’s disease (AD) – is estimated to exceed $1tn per year in the next decade. AD is a highly complex disease with risk factors based in genetics, lifestyle, age, and environment. Cytox’s products genoSCORE™ and genoTOR™ use Polygenic Risk Scoring (PRS) to predict the risk of individuals developing AD, and to improve clinical trial outcomes through patient stratification and the genetic characterization of the disease.
The genoSCORE technology underpins non-invasive, genetic tests to assess the risk of cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The test, which uses a simple blood or saliva sample, analyses over 100,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) – small genetic variations – that are associated with AD. As such, the test generates a patient-specific polygenic risk score (PRS).
Clinicians can use the test to assess patients for the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, before symptoms arise, prior to invasive cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) testing or expensive scanning techniques. Furthermore, the test’s simplicity of use would enable elderly and vulnerable patients self-isolating due to COVID-19, or not wishing or easily able to attend healthcare settings, to provide a suitable sample from home.
Developers of new AD drug therapies can also use the test to identify and recruit patients to clinical studies, ensuring the selection of the most suitable candidates, those most likely to experience cognitive decline over the time period of the study.