Digital tools to anticipate Alzheimer’s and locate stroke

Lincbiotech designs early detection tools for Alzheimer's disease that look for premonitory signals in aberrant Tau proteins

Traballo en LincBiotech

In the Technological Park of San Cibrao das Viñas, 12 kilometers southeast of Ourense, could be the definitive key to anticipate and pause the neuronal deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s with early detection tools that anticipate the development of the disease from the discovery of aberrant Tau protein in cerebrospinal fluid.

The connection between Alzheimer’s and San Cibrao goes through Tecnópole (Technological Park of Galicia) and is called Lincbiotech. This is the name of this spin off (excision) of the Clinical Neurosciences Laboratory (LINC) of the Clinical Hospital of Santiago, made up of about 7 people who are divided between the San Cibrao offices and the Compostela laboratory. The company led by Juan Sebastián Ruiz-Constantino is a startup, or an emerging company, that develops innovative tools for the diagnosis and treatment of highly prevalent neurological diseases with the financial backing of a group of Galician investors headquartered in Ourense.

The incidence of Alzheimer’s is not less. More than 46 million people worldwide live with dementia, more or less the equivalent of the entire Spanish population. It should be remembered that Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an irreversible and progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. It erodes the ability to carry out the simplest tasks, erasing the memory of the people we were for the sake of a body that cannot fend for itself.

Alzheimer and stroke

One of Lincbiotech’s warhorses is Alzheimer’s, but not the only one, points out Juan Sebastián, the firm’s chief executive. They are targeting cerebrovascular accident or stroke, both because of the millions of people it affects, and because it is a disease that leads to physical deterioration and inhuman suffering for both patients and their families.

“We are focused on the enormous task of developing innovative solutions to improve the clinical management of patients suffering from highly prevalent neurological diseases,” highlights Juan Sebastián, CEO of LincBiotech, who warns of the complexities of diagnosing Alzheimer’s and differentiating it from other dementia.

How do these tools work? The company leverages advanced neuroimaging, in vitro assays, and artificial intelligence techniques “to facilitate timely and accurate diagnosis of these devastating conditions,” they explain. It is done through two biotechnological tools that are in the process of regularization for their commercialization and that have been called Kit Elisa and Kit Minerva.

New tools

“Our first product in this field is a novel Elisa kit to detect misfolded proteins in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which allows the diagnosis of the disease even in its subclinical stage,” the researchers explain. Those indicators are the Tau protein, which is part of the cytoskeleton of cells. They aspire to be able to locate them, in the future, with a blood test. This project is one of his current lines of work and research: it would be a less invasive but even less conclusive diagnosis, the CEO points out.

On the other hand, the Minerva kit is a software for processing the radiological images of a brain affected by a stroke and that they extract from the cloud and process at the request of the doctors. It allows them to locate the thrombus and provide key information to assess the severity of the stroke, visualize the damaged areas and those that could be recovered with the intervention.

They insist that the early diagnosis of AD is essential to improve the prognosis of patients, hence the radical importance of advances in this field. All in all, it is still a company that makes research and biotechnology its business. Lincbiotech’s objective is precisely that: to develop innovative technologies for neurological diseases and to reach license agreements with companies that commercialize diagnostic or therapeutic products in the markets. 

 “Neuroimaging scanning using their own software allows them to locate the thrombi and point out to the doctors the most affected parts of the brain”

Among the data they handle would be the average annual cost of Alzheimer’s disease in Europe: 250,000 million euros in 2017 (one year), with a substantial economic impact, equivalent to almost 1.5% of the GDP of the EU-27 .

Lincbiotech has the support of the Xunta to continue advancing in the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and the treatment of strokes through the Principia, InnovaPeme, Support for participation in H2020, Conecta Hubs and Conecta Covid programs of the Galician Innovation Agency. 

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