Collaboration established to advance diagnostic candidate to detect CTE in former NFL players


Aethlon Medical and its diagnostic subsidiary, Exosome Sciences, have announced that a clinical collaboration with the Boston University CTE Center has been established to advance a blood-based diagnostic candidate that could identify Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in living individuals.

CTE is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that has been found at autopsy in former National Football League (NFL) players. At present, CTE can only be diagnosed through post-mortem autopsy. The Boston University CTE Center has been a leading CTE research centre since the disease was first defined.


Aethlon Medical develops targeted therapeutic devices to address infectious disease, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Exosome Sciences develops exosome-based solutions to diagnose and monitor cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Earlier this year, Aethlon disclosed that Exosome Sciences researchers had successfully isolated exosome-based biomarkers transporting tau protein across the blood-brain barrier and into the circulatory system. The hallmark of CTE is an excess of accumulation of tau in the brain.


In the study, Exosome Sciences researchers are evaluating and defining exosome and exosomal tau populations in blood samples collected from participants enrolled in the DETECT (Diagnosing and evaluating traumatic encephalopathy using clinical tests) study, under the direction of Robert Stern, director of Clinical Research at the Boston University CTE Center.


The DETECT study is the first research project on CTE ever funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with support from the National Institute of Neurologic Diseases and Stroke (NINDS), the National Institute on Aging (NIA), and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The ultimate goal of the study is to develop methods, including blood-based tests, that could diagnose CTE during life. The study has enrolled former NFL players (ages 40-69) and same-age “control” athletes who played non-contact sports.


“Our colleagues at the CTE Center are premier thought leaders in the CTE field and have been instrumental in changing how the NFL and other high-risk sports respond to head trauma,” states Aethlon Medical chief executive officer, Jim Joyce, who also serves as executive chairman of Exosome Sciences. “We are truly grateful for the opportunity to establish a blood-based test that could identify CTE in living individuals.”