Plasma Biomarkers of AD Emerging as Essential Tools for Drug Development: An EU/US CTAD Task Force Report

J Prev Alzheimers Dis. 2019;6(3):169-173. doi: 10.14283/jpad.2019.21.


There is an urgent need to develop reliable and sensitive blood-based biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease (AD) that can be used for screening and to increase the efficiency of clinical trials. The European Union-North American Clinical Trials in Alzheimer's Disease Task Force (EU/US CTAD Task Force) discussed the current status of blood-based AD biomarker development at its 2018 annual meeting in Barcelona, Spain. Recent improvements in technologies to assess plasma levels of amyloid beta indicate that a single sample of blood could provide an accurate estimate of brain amyloid positivity. Plasma neurofilament light protein appears to provide a good marker of neurodegeneration, although not specific for AD. Plasma tau shows some promising results but weak or no correlation with CSF tau levels, which may reflect rapid clearance of tau in the bloodstream. Blood samples analyzed using -omics and other approaches are also in development and may provide important insight into disease mechanisms as well as biomarker profiles for disease prediction. To advance these technologies, international multidisciplinary, multi-stakeholder collaboration is essential.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Blood test; biomarker; plasma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Advisory Committees
  • Alzheimer Disease / blood*
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / blood
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Drug Development*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Humans
  • Neurofilament Proteins / blood
  • tau Proteins / blood


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Biomarkers
  • MAPT protein, human
  • Neurofilament Proteins
  • neurofilament protein L
  • tau Proteins