A technology that originated at the University of Minnesota is well on its way to commercialization thanks to an investment award from Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF).
The investment of up to $500,000 was awarded through the ADDF's Diagnostics Accelerator initiative. Toronto, Ontario-based RetiSpec licensed through the University of Minnesota's Technology Commercialization program. The technology (shown on the right) harnesses hyperspectral imaging and machine learning.
"We are focused on bringing to market a noninvasive, easy-to-use, screening technology that can change when and how we detect Alzheimer's disease at its earliest stages including before a patient presents with symptoms," said Eliav Shaked, CEO of RetiSpec. "Early detection provides an important window of opportunity for timely therapeutic interventions that can slow or even prevent the progression of Alzheimer's disease. ADDF's investment represents another point of external validation of the promise of our technology."
In preclinical studies and a pilot human study, the retinal imaging technology was effective in detecting small changes in biomarkers associated with elevated cerebral amyloid beta levels early in the disease process including before the onset of clinical symptoms.
RetiSpec is currently collaborating with Toronto Memory Program, Canada's largest Alzheimer's clinical trial site, to validate the accuracy and usability of the technology in patients.
"We believe that RetiSpec's retinal scanner stands out and shows promise as a unique diagnostic tool among a range of technologies in development," said Howard Fillit , MD, founding executive director and chief science officer of ADDF The technology has the potential to facilitate early diagnosis, improve the lives of patients and their loved ones and save the healthcare system money and resources. The technology will also be useful in making clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease more efficient."
Check out this video to learn more about RetiSpec's potentially-transformative Alzheimer's screening technology: