Healthcare: At a Glance - 'Effective' Parkinson's diagnostic test launched

WHAT IS GOING ON?

A blood test to identify patients with Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease is planned for launch this year. Both the Daily Mail and BBC News Online reported this week that US firm Power3 Medical Products is behind the development.

WHY IS THIS SO SIGNIFICANT?

Because up to now diagnoses of such neurodegenerative diseases have been based solely on a clinical diagnosis of symptoms. A reliable blood test would be a big step forward in early identification. The company says the test, called NuroPro, could go on sale in the US as early as the third quarter of this year.

AND HAS THE COMPANY ISSUED A RELEASE?

It has, but the Mail and BBC both picked up the story from Chemistry & Industry (C&I). It is a well-respected bimonthly magazine that reports on areas of crossover between science and business and has a particular interest in developments that will be of commercial interest in the near future. In addition to health and pharma, it covers food, biotechnology, environmental science and safety.

WHO IS BEHIND C&I?

It is published by the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI), which is a registered charity and bills itself as a 'unique international forum where science meets business on independent, impartial ground'. Chemistry & Industry uses its own news stories, features or research to promote itself. Meral Nugent is press and PR manager for the SCI while Power3, whose HQ is in Oklahoma, uses New York-based agency The Investor Relations Group for comms support.

ANY REASON FOR THE STORY'S TIMING?

This week just happened to be Parkinson's Awareness Week. The Parkinson's Disease Society's media relations activity has included releasing the findings from the largest ever UK survey of people with Parkinson's and their carers - key concerns include diagnosis, of course.

SO IS NUROPRO ON THE MARKET ANYWHERE?

No, it is currently undergoing its own clinical validation study involving 300 patients. The test is based on differences - discovered by Power3 - in blood serum concentration for patients with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease. The company launched BCSeraPro, an early detection diagnostic test for breast cancer, in the Middle East last October.

Further information www.soci.org www.power3medical.com.

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