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International group finds 11 new Alzheimer's genes to target for drug discovery
Date:10/27/2013

to cell migration (PTK2B), lipid transport and endocytosis (SORL1) were also confirmed. And new hypotheses emerged related to hippocampal synaptic function (MEF2C , PTK2B), the cytoskeleton and axonal transport (CELF1, NME8, CASS4) as well as myeloid and microglial cell functions (INPP5D).

One of the more significant new associations was found in the HLA-DRB5 - DRB1 region, one of the most complex parts of the genome, which plays a role in the immune system and inflammatory response. It has also been associated with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, suggesting that the diseases where abnormal proteins accumulate in the brain may have a common mechanism involved, and possibly have a common drug target, Dr. Schellenberg noted.

"We know that healthy cells are very good at clearing out debris, thanks in part to the immune response system, but in these neurodegenerative diseases where the brain has an inflammatory response to bad proteins and starts forming plaques and tangle clumps, perhaps the immune response can get out of hand and do damage," said Dr. Schellenberg. "Through this powerful international group as well as our own US collaborations, we'll expand the data set even further to look for rare variants and continue our analysis to find more opportunities to better understand the disease and find viable therapeutic targets. Large-scale sequencing will certainly play a part in the next phase of our genetics studies."


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Contact: Kim Menard
kim.menard@uphs.upenn.edu
215-662-6183
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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