Project Details

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Elizabeta Mukaetova-Ladinska

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Discovering blood-based RNA biomarkers for improving clinical diagnosis of Dementia with Lewy bodies


Accurate distinction between Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is essential because they differ in their treatment, care planning, and vulnerability to life-threatening antipsychotics-related adverse effects. There is an urgent clinical need for identifying blood-based biomarkers that can accurately differentiate between these two most common dementias. Plasma small extracellular vesicles (SEV) can cross blood-brain-barrier and they carry RNA that reflect molecular changes in brain. We have already published next-generation RNA-Sequencing (RNA-Seq) studies, which demonstrated statistically significant overlap between the differentially expressed RNA identified in post-mortem DLB brains and in circulating SEV from people living with DLB.
In this project. differentially expressed RNA including microRNAs from DLB and AD participants (n=30/group) will be identified using RNA-Seq from Platelet-free-plasma and plasma SEV. The most parsimonious combination of RNA that can accurately differentiate DLB from AD will be identified using a novel Artificial Intelligence based algorithm. A prototypic clinically adaptable multiplex RNA assay will be designed using this combination.

Our interdisciplinary supervisory team in the University of Leicester and University of Nottingham (UoN) have expertise on clinical psychiatry, dementia research, transcriptomics, SEV research, biomarker discovery, data science and artificial intelligence. We will obtain necessary DLB and AD plasma samples from the ongoing blood based biomarkers for DLB (BBDLB) project in the UoN. This project will improve not only our understanding of molecular pathology of DLB, but also can identify potential diagnostic biomarkers for DLB. A prototypic blood-based diagnostic biomarker assay for DLB will lead further clinical adaption.




University of Leicester

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