ZRT Laboratory Receives NIH Grant Award to Help Understand ADHD

This project aims to develop a minimally invasive dried blood spot test to identify potential biomarkers of treatment response in young people with ADHD


September 9, 2019 (Beaverton, OR) – ZRT Laboratory, a CLIA-certified diagnostic laboratory, announced today the receipt of a Phase I grant from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health under the auspices of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program of the National Institutes of Health. Principal investigators Kate Placzek, PhD, Senior Research Scientist and David Zava, PhD, CEO of ZRT Laboratory will head up a 6-month study to research Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in young people. “I am so excited and honored to receive this grant” announced Dr. Placzek; “ZRT has been working with academic and government researchers for years, and now we have our own funding to pursue a project that may help families of children with ADHD identify for whom a treatment works and why.”  

ZRT’s goal for this study is to develop a test that can be used alongside existing questionnaires to help doctors create personalized treatment strategies for their patients with ADHD. With this grant, ZRT Laboratory is putting efforts toward identifying a set of endocrine biomarkers that can reliably identify children who may benefit from a particular type of treatment.

At the heart of the concept is a simple, minimally-invasive collection of small amounts of blood from a finger stick. “The beauty of this technology” said Dr. Zava, who pioneered minimally invasive dried blood spot hormone testing, “is that it can be done at home by the patient and minimize the stress associated with invasive venous blood draws. This is especially important in pediatric diagnostics.”

Drs. Zava and Placzek will collaborate with Jeanette Johnstone, PhD in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University, who is currently leading the ongoing “Micronutrients for ADHD in Youth” (MADDY) clinical trial, designed to evaluate micronutrients as alternative treatment strategies to stimulant medications. 

Stimulant medications, typically effective as a first-line treatment for ADHD, may not manage symptoms in some patients. “Our laboratory test will aim to help us understand why that happens and hopefully will be used to provide adequate prediction of treatment success and behavior improvements. We hope that clinically relevant endocrine changes seen in blood spot tests that are specific to ADHD, will provide additional insight into optimal patient management” said Dr. Placzek.

To learn more about our SBIR Phase 1 Grant, you can search by reference number 1R43AT010884-01 on NIH. To learn more about ZRT Laboratory’s research projects, visit www.zrtlab.com/research


About ZRT Laboratory
ZRT Laboratory is a CLIA-certified commercial and research laboratory founded in 1998 by breast cancer researcher David Zava, Ph.D. ZRT has pioneered innovative testing methods for hormones, neurotransmitters, heavy metals and more, offering health care professionals convenient testing options in different body fluids including saliva, dried blood spot, dried urine, and serum. With over 10 million clinical tests performed over the past 20+ years, coupled with our signature personalized test report, ZRT Laboratory has become a world recognized leader in clinical testing. Individuals, health care providers in all 50 states and in over 100 countries, as well as research-oriented government, private, and academic organizations worldwide use our testing. Learn more at www.zrtlab.com.