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First Complete Mapping of the Alzheimer’s Genome Underway

Boston (PRWEB) May 09, 2013

The goal of the research project led by Dr. Rudolph Tanzi at Massachusetts General Hospital and funded through collaboration between Cure Alzheimer’s Fund (CAF) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is to complete the identification of genes affecting risk for Alzheimer’s disease. The Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) process will go beyond previously used techniques to allow researchers to understand the genetic switches controlling the Alzheimer’s genes and how they are triggered by other genes and by environmental inputs.

Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has already committed $5.4 million and NIMH $4 million. Additional funds to complete the project will be raised privately. Over the next several months, the study will obtain the complete genomic sequences of more than 1500 subjects in families that have Alzheimer’s. It will then compare the human genome sequences from family members with and without Alzheimer’s disease to identify precisely all of the variations in our genomic DNA that influence risk for Alzheimer’s.

“This research is searching for genetic factors that influence risk for getting the disease and affect brain pathology,” said Dr. Rudy Tanzi, professor at MGH and Harvard Medical School and leader of the WGS project. “We are taking advantage of cutting edge technology to discover exactly how our genes determine susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease. We will then use this knowledge to guide novel drug discovery efforts.”

Joining with Cure Alzheimer’s Fund to achieve this objective, the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH), a part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded $4 million to the Tanzi laboratory, specifically to support the analysis of the data. Additional funds required to complete the project within the next three years will be raised privately.

“This is a perfect example of an innovative and productive public private partnership as well as the value of leveraging private funds into a much stronger overall effort made possible with public money,” said Jeff Morby, chairman and co-founder of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. “The data from the WGS initiative will increase the speed of development of therapies, both to prevent the disease and arrest its progress. We are most grateful to the NIMH for partnering with us in this pioneering effort.”

About Cure Alzheimer’s Fund

In nine years, with $20 million invested in research, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has a strong track record in funding novel approaches to understanding the causes of Alzheimer’s disease and the biological processes that drive the pathology. Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has supported 72 projects in 51 laboratories of leading Alzheimer’s researchers in the US and abroad. Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is a 501c3 public charity and seeks no financial gain for its founders, donors or researchers. The Founders and Board members pay all expenses of the Foundation so that all contributions from others go directly to research.

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