Roche’s NeuroToolKit in Alzheimer Disease Research: Rachelle S. Doody, MD, PhD


The global head of Neurodegeneration at Roche/Genentech shared insight into the development of the company’s NeuroToolKit and its use in its Alzheimer disease research.

“What we want to do is use our work in our clinical trials and our methodologies developed in Roche diagnostics to make replicable, easy to use tools that can help us all understand what’s happening to biomarkers in Alzheimer disease. Right now, the NeuroToolKit uses CSF, but some day—and we’re already working on it—different analytes, or maybe all of the same analytes, could be measured in blood.”

Within its clinical pipeline, Roche has developed a NeuroToolKit with the intention of improving the insights it can glean from neuron assessment in clinical studies of Alzheimer disease (AD)—both the company’s and those conducted by others. The toolkits assays contain several biomarkers, including amyloid-ß 1-42, amyloid-ß 1-40, α-synuclein, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), neurogranin, neurofilament light chain (NfL), phosphotau (181P), S100B, sTREM2, total tau, and YKL-40.

At the 2021 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC), July 26-30, a group from Roche presented data from a subset of patients enrolled in 6 clinical trials Roche conducted: the phase 2 ABBY (NCT01343966)/BLAZE (NCT01397578) studies of crenezumab in mild-to-moderate AD, the phase 3 CREAD (NCT02670083)/CREAD 2 (NCT03114657) studies of crenezumab in prodromal-to-mild AD, the phase 3 SCarlet RoAD (NCT01224106) study of gantenerumab in prodromal AD, and the phase 3 Marguerite RoAD (NCT02051608) study of gantenerumab in mild AD.

Ultimately, all of these biomarkers, aside from IL-6, positively correlated with each other. The highest correlations were observed between total tau, phospho­­­tau, and neurogranin (Spearman’s rho >0.9). Additionally, NfL, GFAP, YKL-40, and sTREM2 biomarkers positively correlated with patient age.

To find out more about these data and the potential clinical implications for the use of this NeuroToolKit in research, NeurologyLive spoke with Rachelle S. Doody, MD, PhD, global head, Neurodegeneration, and franchise head, Alzheimer’s Disease Neurodegeneration, Roche/Genentech. She offered her perspective on the data presented at AAIC, and how the kit might play a role in the future of AD therapeutic development.

For more coverage of AAIC 2021, click here.

Rabe C, Thorne N, VOyle N, et al. Evaluation of the Elecsys Neurotoolkit Panel in Early Alzheimer’s Disease Populations Across Six Clinical Trials. Presented at: AAIC; July 26-30, 2021; Virtual. Abstract 52033.
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