Noninvasive Early Alzheimer’s Detection Imaging System

Technology No. 20160271-20110213

Retinal Scan Detects Alzheimer’s without Dyes or Reagents

An imaging device based on the variable near infrared (VNIR) Hyperspectral Imaging (HSI) system can be used for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The device combines conventional imaging with spectrophotometry to create pixel-level spectral quantification of a sample. The HSI system is non-invasive; imaging samples are obtained through a simple retinal scan that doesn’t require any dyes or additional reagents.

Detection Before Amyloid-beta Aggregation

Prior to cognitive symptoms of AD, plaques form in the brain from amyloid-beta (Aβ) peptides, an event known as Aβ aggregation. In vitro assessment with this new imaging system detected cellular cytoplasmic changes before Aβ aggregation. In mouse tests, AD was detected 25% sooner than visible plaque formation. This is the only existing diagnostic method that can detect AD before Aβ plaque formation. This diagnostic approach may be critical to new compound development  and commercialization to halt and reverse disease progression.

Potential Applications

The efficacy of current AD treatments is severely limited by the lack of an early diagnostic method. Presently, patients can only be diagnosed with AD after visible plaques have formed in their brains. At this point, treatments can only slow down the inevitable progression of cognitive symptoms. With the new HSI system, a physician could make an AD diagnosis long before visible plaques formed in the patient’s brain. This would enable the patient to begin treatment significantly sooner, improving their prognosis.

Additionally, the HSI system could be used to determine the success of AD treatments by measuring cellular changes and levels of Aβ aggregation. This would enable physicians to fine-tune treatments to better suit the patient’s needs.


  • Non-invasive and does not require any dyes or additional reagents.
  • First diagnostic method to detect AD before visible plaque formation
  • Could be used to assess and tailor AD treatments
  • Critical to new compound development to reverse disease progression
  • Creates pixel-level quantification
  • Integrates different imaging systems

Phase of Development In vitro assessment data and in vivo efficacy data is available now

Robert Vince, PhD
Director, Center for Drug Design, Academic Health Center, Professor
External Link (
Swati More, PhD
Assistant Professor, Center for Drug Design, Academic Health Center
External Link (

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