Home Feature Story Revolutionizing Alzheimer’s Care: How Young Blood Institute’s Early Detection Model Is Changing...

Revolutionizing Alzheimer’s Care: How Young Blood Institute’s Early Detection Model Is Changing The Game

515
0

by Mark Urdahl, Chairman & CEO of Young Blood Institute

Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating diagnosis for anyone to hear, especially because most people are aware that there is no cure for it. Watching someone we love forget who we are, become increasingly confused, and eventually lose all ability to care for themselves can be terrifying and heartbreaking.

For decades, researchers have searched for solutions and treatments that would slow the progression of Alzheimer’s or even stop it in its tracks. Recently, these experts have turned their attention to the role of amyloid beta levels in the development and onset of Alzheimer’s. Amyloid βeta (Aβ) is a protein fragment that has been identified as a key player in the formation of plaques, which are abnormalities often found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.

Groundbreaking research in Alzheimer’s research

In the past few years, the Young Blood Institute (YBI) discovered through research that a large percentage of cognitively normal people have excessive Aβ levels. YBI also found that therapeutic plasma exchange was successful in clearing excess Aβ peptides, consistent with prior research findings by Grifols.

After her work with the YBI and Grifols, I met the plasmapheresis manager Gloria Simpson and brought her onto AmβARI Healthcare as Chief of Nursing Ops. I was immediately impressed by her brilliance and the results that she had achieved.

“We saw people’s reductions in Amyloid Beta levels in cognitively normal subjects, opening up the possibility for [Alzheimer’s] prevention,” Simpson told me. “I saw this at AMBAR, then I saw at YBI that we could clear Amyloid Beta [levels] for cognitively normal subjects, and now it’s time to commercialize this and make it available.”

We have people who saw people recover their memories, which a scant few in the entire Alzheimer’s research industry can say they’ve ever seen. Fortunately, therapeutic plasma exchange has been an FDA-approved therapy for many decades. 

Commercializing a treatment for Alzheimer’s

However, despite Simpson’s success with Grifols and the YBI, this solution is still not well-known. There’s so much noise in the system and so much other information floating around, including proposals. Even though Grifols spent $150 million over 14 years and had a 61% success rate with Alzheimer’s, it’s a measly drop in the bucket compared to the $3 billion worth of research the industry spends each year.

After working with Simpson, I had the opportunity to meet with the acclaimed neurologist Mercé Boada at the ACE Alzheimer’s Center in Spain. Boada confirmed Simpson’s findings and went on to commercialize this treatment in Spain, but this only begs the question: if they’re doing it in Spain, why can they not do it here, in the United States, too?

We have reached a significant moment in time where decades of research into AB testing, as well as decades of research into the use of plasma exchange for Alzheimer’s treatment and AB prevention, have culminated. Now, we have the opportunity to work together and commercialize an available treatment for Alzheimer’s.

I’ve been in the business of commercializing technology for all my life. Too often, ideas get stuck in the research phase forever and never make their way to market, keeping them from helping the people whose lives they could change. Here, we have a documented case of something that works and is widely available — it’s just a matter of expanding this commercialization to the rest of the world.

Early detection and treatment for Alzheimer’s disease is not just another mere medical innovation. It offers a ray of hope for a disease that often brings nothing but sorrow, allowing people to hope for a better tomorrow and an eventual future free of the disease. Let’s make this treatment available to people commercially so that we can slow or even stop this terrifying disease.

 

mark urdahlMark Urdahl, Chairman & CEO of Young Blood Institute first started the institute as a non-profit Clinical Research Organization to study new potential indications for Therapeutic Plasma Exchange. In 2022, he established AmβARI Healthcare to develop a platform to commercialize Grifols research and commercial translation, utilizing the YBI study model and its findings, for private care clinics across the country.