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Promoters of the BetaScreen project (Photo: ©Fundación Pasqual Maragall).

Genesis Biomed supports the creation of the spin-off BetaScreen

The Barcelonaβeta Brain Research Center (BBRC), research center of the Pasqual Maragall Foundation, has constituted this November BetaScreen, the first spin-off of the Foundation. The project has been possible, among others, thanks to the support of EIT Digital, which allocated €1M for its development; la Caixa” Foundation, which granted it a financial aid of €50,000 through CaixaResearch Validate. The consultancy firm Genesis Biomed, based in the Barcelona Science Park, has also collaborated in the consortium project as lead and business partner.

The constitution of BetaScreen is the culmination of the artificial intelligence algorithms research project developed five years ago at BBRC, based on an algorithm capable of interpreting image biomarkers from Magnetic Resonance and CT scans, which allows to identify the presence of abnormal levels of Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers in the brain of individuals without cognitive alterations.

BetaScreen’s technology will be applied in MRI and CT scans performed on people participating in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease, which has a preclinical phase of up to 20 years before the first symptoms appear. It is precisely during this phase that cognitively healthy people may present an abnormal accumulation of beta-amyloid protein in the brain, the presence of which exponentially increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

The identification of beta-amyloid protein is complex, as the techniques used – lumbar puncture and positron emission tomography (PET) – are invasive and expensive. Thanks to the application of BetaScreen’s machine learning algorithms to MRI scans – mandatory in any initial screening of a clinical trial – it will be possible to identify which people really need the standard tests and in which cases they can be avoided because they are less likely to show preclinical alterations. Thus, it will be possible to detect people who could benefit from clinical prevention trials in a more cost-effective way.

» For further information: Genesis Biomed website [+]