Congressman Tonko visits Lednev Lab to Learn More About Early Alzheimer’s Diagnostics Technology

President Rodriguez and Congressman Tonko view a demo of the Lednev lab's screening tool, led by UAlbany PhD student Bhavik Vyas.
UAlbany PhD student Bhavik Vyas leads a demo of the Lednev lab's screening tool to detect Alzheimer’s disease. (Photo by Patrick Dodson)

By Mike Nolan

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 6, 2023) — Congressman Tonko has long been a strong supporter of Alzheimer’s research in the Capital Region, including the work of University at Albany Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Igor Lednev.

Lednev, and his team of student researchers, are developing a new, laser-based screening tool that can test blood or saliva samples to detect early and preclinical Alzheimer’s disease.

The technology is patented and now under commercialization by a University spinoff company Early Alzheimer’s Diagnostics LLC, which recently received federal support from National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants.

Last Thursday, Tonko and President Rodríguez visited the Lednev lab, located inside the RNA Institute, to learn more about the screening tool.


Early Alzheimer’s Detection


“Our approach for the development of a biomedical test for Alzheimer’s diagnostics is novel and unique,” said Lednev, during the visit. “There is no cure for the disease at the moment, however there are therapeutic approaches to delay disease development. If we can improve the quality of life for Alzheimer’s patients and help their relatives and family members, the effect on society will be huge.” 

The Lednev lab has pioneered the use of Raman spectroscopy for forensic and medical diagnostic purposes over the last decade. 

President Rodriguez, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Igor Lednev, Congressman Tonko and a UAlbany student researcher stand together for a photo inside the Lednev lab.
President Rodríguez and Congressman Tonko visit the Lednev lab. (Photo by Patrick Dodson)

Raman spectroscopy is an analytical technique where scattered light is used to obtain the molecular vibrational characteristics of a sample. No two samples will produce the same Raman spectrum, offering a unique measurement that is similar to a fingerprint. Lednev’s novel technology combines this approach with advanced statistics to test body fluid samples.

Lednev’s preliminary research has shown that near-infrared Raman spectroscopy, coupled with machine learning algorithms trained to distinguish spectral differences, can differentiate the biochemical composition of blood and saliva from Alzheimer’s patients and healthy individuals, as well as determine the stage of the disease.

The one-year STTR grants awarded to Early Alzheimer’s Diagnostics LLC are supporting a Phase I proof-of-concept.