New assay reliably detects neurofilament light chain in blood


Neurofilament light chain (NFLC) is a nonspecific biomarker for several neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Mayo Clinic Laboratories’ new NFLC blood test can reliably detect NFLC in blood — thereby avoiding the need for more invasive cerebrospinal fluid testing.

“NFLC is specific to neurons and usually isn’t found in circulation,” says Alicia Algeciras-Schimnich, Ph.D. “But following neuronal injury, NFLC is released into cerebral spinal fluid and then into blood, where it can be detected.”

Developed in conjunction with Mayo Clinic neurologists, Dr. Algeciras-Schimnich says the new assay can:

  • Improve treatment decisions for patients with symptoms of cognitive decline, dementia, or other neurological disorders.
  • Help clinicians monitor disease progression and treatment response in patients with multiple sclerosis.
  • Reduce costs by eliminating unnecessary up-front testing.

Listen to Dr. Algeciras-Schimnich talk more about the benefits of Mayo Clinic Laboratories’ new NFLC blood test in this “Test in Focus.”

Samantha Rossi