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New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging

Basic Science Research

Biomarker Discovery Center

Established at the NJISA in late 2012, the Biomarker Discovery Center builds on the recent discoveries by NJISA researchers that could significantly change the diagnosis and treatment of a number of diseases. The Center is under the direction of Robert Nagele, PhD, who has received national recognition for his published research into the use of blood-borne biomarkers to diagnose early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis.

Scientific and medical interest in biomarkers has intensified in recent years. The need for early diagnostics that are accurate, relatively non-invasive and cost effective is critical and Dr. Nagele’s published research has illustrated some exciting results, including:

  • The development of a blood test that detects the presence of Alzheimer’s disease at the mild cognitive impairment stage with over 95 percent accuracy and enables disease staging. Work is underway to develop a test for preclinical disease detection, years before outward symptoms appear (April 2016).
  • Research showing that the same diagnostic approach – a blood test that employs human protein microarrays to identify specific autoantibodies in the blood – can detect the presence of both early-stage and moderate Parkinson’s disease with an overall accuracy of 87.9% and 97.1%, respectively (November 2015).
  • Findings that describe the use of autoantibodies as blood-based biomarkers for detection and subtyping of multiple sclerosis (August 2017).

In January 2013, the Biomarker Discovery Center was awarded a three-year, $799,800 grant from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation to develop a blood test that can diagnose mild cognitive impairment caused by early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Currently, the lab is funded by the National Institutes of Health to carry out a large-scale validation study of the utility of the Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers and to pursue new blood-based biomarkers for very early (preclinical) detection of this devastating disease.

  • Dr. Robert Nagele
    Robert. B. Nagele, Ph.D.

    If you would like to learn more about Dr. Nagele and his lab's work, please visit his research profile on Research With NJ.