Neurochemistry Laboratory

The Neurochemistry Laboratory identifies and validates body fluid biomarkers for diagnosis and follow-up of neurodegenerative diseases.
The long-lasting collaboration with the Neurology Department of Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra (CHUC) resulted in the clinical practice implementation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and a rapid—short turnaround time due to full automation—immunoassay for the quantification of these biomarkers. Standardization of pre-analytical and analytical procedures has been implemented through joint involvement in research projects (EU Joint Program for Neurodegenerative Disease Research projects BIOMARKAPD and DEMTEST and the international consortia EADC) and quality control programs (Alzheimer’s Association Quality Control Program for CSF-biomarkers), in the last 10 years.

Considering the urgent need for less invasive biomarkers, the ultrasensitive immunoassay platform Single Molecule Array - SiMoA is used to quantify brain-derived proteins in the blood. Neurodegenerative blood markers allow the screening of a broader population at an early disease stage and assessment of disease rate progression and therapeutic schemes effectiveness. The laboratory is currently evaluating the potential of blood-based markers for risk of cognitive deterioration and dementia. The Neurochemistry Laboratory is in the framework of the Portuguese Epidemiologic Surveillance Program for Human Prion Diseases (National Reference Laboratory for CSF analysis) and currently constitutes the main national laboratory for dementia-CSF studies.

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