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Breakthrough Mapping of Alzheimer's Genome Helps ID Four New Suspect Genes
Date:10/30/2008

s in the current issue of Nature Reviews Neuroscience. Ultimately, the goal is to combine the results of the Alzheimer's family-based genome-wide association screen with the bioinformatics results of AlzGene.org.

The combined efforts of the family-based genome-wide association screen and AlzGene.org studies have led to the identification of 70 genes containing variants that either confer risk for, or protect against, Alzheimer's, making up the most comprehensive genetic map of the disease.

"This project is the most complete and comprehensive search for the genes that cause Alzheimer's disease published to date," Tanzi said. "Our hope is to use this new information to not only better diagnose and someday predict risk for Alzheimer's but to also learn from these genes the biological causes of Alzheimer's. The knowledge gained from understanding the Alzheimer's-associated defects in these genes will almost certainly accelerate the development of novel therapeutics and hopefully lead to a potential cure for this devastating disease."

The current understanding of the causes and pathological progression of Alzheimer's disease have been made possible by studies of four Alzheimer's genes discovered between 1987 and 1995, three of which were co-discovered by Tanzi. Since these genes account for only 30 percent of the genetic basis of Alzheimer's disease, three years ago Cure Alzheimer's Fund initiated the Alzheimer's Genome Project aimed at determining the remaining 70 percent of the genetic basis of Alzheimer's disease. Taking advantage of major technological and analytical breakthroughs in human genetic studies, the project was able to reach this milestone with a limited budget, led by a contribution of $3 million from Cure Alzheimer's Fund.

"We are on the cusp of a rare 'science moment' that could alter the way we diagnose, treat and prevent Alzheimer's disease," said Tanzi. "Ultimately, the combined results of the family-based genome-wide scre
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SOURCE Cure Alzheimer's Fund
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