San Diego-based Aethlon Medical Inc. and its diagnostic subsidiary, Exosome Sciences Inc., announced that a clinical collaboration with the Boston University CTE Center has been established to advance a blood-based diagnostic test that could identify chronic traumatic encephalopathy in living individuals – a disorder previously only detected upon autopsy.

CTE is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that has been found at autopsy in some former National Football League players. The Boston University CTE Center has been a heading CTE research center since the disease was first defined.

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 and same-age "control" athletes who played noncontact 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," stated Aethlon Medical CEO Jim Joyce, who also serves as executive chairman of ESI. "We are truly grateful for the opportunity to establish a blood-based test that could identify CTE in living individuals."

Aethlon Medical (NASDAQ:OTCQB:AEMD) develops targeted therapeutic devices to address infectious disease, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. ESI develops exosome-based solutions to diagnose and monitor cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Earlier this year, Aethlon disclosed that ESI 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, ESI researchers are evaluating and defining exosome and exosomal tau populations in blood samples collected from participants enrolled in the clinical tests.