Can we identify novel biomarkers for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease?

Scientists have identified antibodies uniquely present in people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), however, these antibodies were discovered at the later stages of AD and are less useful for early detection. We believe that specific antibodies are produced during preclinical AD, and the identification and detection of these antibodies could help determine if a person will develop AD and allow for early treatment to stop disease progression.

Recently, lymphatic vessels were discovered that drain fluid, waste products and immune cells from the brain to lymph nodes in the neck. Within the lymph node the activation of specialised immune cells leads to a variety of antibodies being produced. In this project, we will screen for antibodies that are uniquely produced in the lymph nodes of pre-symptomatic AD mice (versus non-AD mice). As these antibodies will eventually distribute into the blood, sensitive assays will subsequently be developed to detect the antibodies in the blood.


  • Demonstrate the feasibility of detecting preclinical AD before the onset of symptoms using a blood test.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) affects more than 55 million people globally, placing a heavy socioeconomic burden on all countries. The majority of clinical trials for the treatment of AD have reported minimal benefits. One of the major reasons was that the recruited patients were at late disease stage with irreversible damage to the brain. Trials have also shown that better therapeutic outcomes can be achieved in earlier AD stage.

The project will demonstrate the feasibility of detecting preclinical AD before the onset of symptoms using a blood test that can be trialled and validated in humans in the future. Once this approach is approved for clinical use, clinicians will be able to determine if a person is at risk of developing AD based on blood test results. If one is at risk, early intervention can be initiated to prevent or even cure AD, and a better therapeutic outcome and quality of life is expected.

Apply to take part in this project

Student applications

Students who are applying to study at The Florey can register their interest in this project. Refer to our step-by-step guide to help you with your application

Learn how to apply

Accepting students

Contact us

If you’re interested in learning more about this project please contact our team.

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please enter a valid phone number
Please enter a correct email address
Please provide information regarding your enquiry