Your impact 2023
An eye on Alzheimer’s disease
Thanks to CERA’s donors, Professor Peter van Wijngaarden and his team can continue developing an eye scan that has the potential transform the way we diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s disease.
Thanks to your support, Professor Peter van Wijngaarden and his team are further developing their innovative eye scan to detect the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
The brain changes that occur in Alzheimer’s disease produce a waste product called amyloid beta. This protein appears in the brain and retina of the eye many decades before any noticeable symptoms of the disease. Because of this, its presence can be used to indicate whether someone may develop the disease.
Amyloid beta cannot be seen using a standard eye test. But Professor van Wijngaarden and his team have developed a state-of-the-art camera that uses different colours of light to photograph the retina. When these detailed images are analysed with artificial intelligence amyloid can be detected.
In 2024, Professor van Wijngaarden and his team will be expanding their research to investigate other biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease including tau tangles and neurodegeneration.
After many years of research and prototyping, the camera is now ready to be tested with a large group of patients.
This study will provide the evidence to determine if the camera could be useful in the clinic. Ultimately, it is hoped this technology will transform the way we diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s disease.
“By the time most people are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, they already have irreversible brain damage. If we can use our eye scan to detect the disease in its early stages, new treatments could be started when they are most likely to be effective,” says Professor van Wijngaarden.
“We are incredibly grateful to CERA’s generous supporters for moving us closer to our goal of getting the hyperspectral camera into every eye clinic in Australia.”