Selective Detection of Pathological Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)-Tau in Human Biofluids

Garrett Gibbons, PhD University of Pennsylvania


John Trojanowski, MD, PhD


There are currently no blood tests to determine if a person has Alzheimer’s disease. It can be difficult to determine whether a person with dementia has Alzheimer’s disease, a different neurodegenerative disease, or both simultaneously. We created new antibody, named GT-38, that detects a form of tau protein present in Alzheimer’s disease but not other neurodegenerative diseases. We will use GT-38 to develop a test for blood or cerebral spinal fluid to distinguish Alzheimer’s disease from other neurodegenerative diseases.

Project Details

The goal of my research is to develop a blood test to detect Alzheimer’s disease. In the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, tangles made of tau protein form within neurons and are associated with decreased cognitive function and neuronal death. In my recent work we created an antibody, named GT-38, that specifically detect the form of tau present in tangles. This is important because current tests of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) can detect tau which is released from dying neurons but is not necessarily the result of Alzheimer’s disease and may be a result of traumatic brain injury or other neurodegenerative diseases.  In the work funded by BrightFocus I am using GT-38 to detect only the Alzheimer’s disease form of tau in CSF and adapting the antibody to ultrasensitive tests so that we can hopefully detect Alzheimer’s disease tau in plasma. This research aims to generate a blood-based test for Alzheimer’s disease to address a major unmet need for clinical trial enrollment and provide a biological readout of disease progression to test the effectiveness of new drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease.