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GAB2-A New Alzheimers Gene Identified

Researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), Banner Alzheimers Institute, Kronos Science Laboratory and their collaborative partners, suggests that the gene called GAB2 modifies an individuals risk for Alzheimer's disease when associated with other genes, including APOE4.

Alzheimers disease is the most common form of disabling memory and thinking problems in older people. The progressive neurological disorder afflicts an estimated 5 million Americans, a number expected to triple by 2050.

We have entered a new era in medical research. Todays technologies permit us to survey a sufficient number of letters throughout the human genome to provide a clearer picture of how life works and ultimately allow better clinical management of patients, said Dr. Dietrich Stephan, Director of TGens Neurogenomics Division and the papers senior author, These new, robust tools may eventually allow us to improve our ability to diagnose Alzheimers disease, even before it strikes

To date, the most significant gene found to predispose an individual to late onset Alzheimers (LOAD) has been APOE4. In this latest study, researchers from seven organizations contributed to the genome-wide scan using Affymetrix microarray technology. The team screened the DNA from 1,400 individuals who had been clinically assessed with Alzheimers prior death, and simultaneously examined more than 500,000 SNPs or genetic variations to characterize and confirm additional LOAD susceptibility genes. The search revealed GAB2.

Based on the genetics of this and other neuroscientific findings, researchers suggest the healthy form of the GAB2 gene may protect brain cells from developing tangles, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimers disease. If the findings are confirmed, this discovery could provide a target for future Alzheimers therapeutic drugs.

We hope that this study, along with the genome-wide genetics studies to come, will contribute t
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