Researchers Discover New Genetic Links to Alzheimer’s

September 6, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Researchers from Britain and France have discovered three new genes linked to Alzheimer’s disease, which causes dementia and early death from the progressive destruction of brain cells. The new genes are the first to be found in a decade, providing hope of a cure or treatment for the nearly 30 million people worldwide, suffering from the largely inherited brain disease.

Researchers from Cardiff University in Wales uncovered the two genes, CLU and Picalm, by testing and comparing the DNA of thousands of patients with and without Alzheimer’s. At the same time, researchers from the Institut Pasteur de Lille in France performed a similar study and uncovered the genes, CLU and CR1, adding credence to the gene CLU found by the Wales team and offering a new gene of their own.

Scientists still have a long way to go, before a full understanding of how different combinations of gene mutations predispose certain patients to Alzheimer’s. But identifying the genes linked to the disease may lead to the development of experimental drugs and a better understanding of the disease.

The brains of Alzheimer’s patients are overwhelmed with plaque deposits, causing memory loss and brain cell death. The researchers believe that the CLU and Picalm genes may be responsible for 9 percent of cases each, and the CR1 gene for 4 percent of Alzheimer’s cases.

Julie Williams, lead researcher and professor of neuropsychological genetics at Cardiff University in Wales, believes the research could lead to preventative gene therapies. “If we were able to remove the detrimental effects of these genes through treatments, we could reduce the proportion of people developing Alzheimer’s by 20 percent,” said Williams.

The researchers caution that identifying the genes alone, can’t reliably predict if a person is going to come down with Alzheimer’s, because the genes also provide beneficial effects to people. However, the three new genes would provide a greater understanding of the biology of the disease and might one day lead to a cure.

Both studies are available in journal Nature Genetics.

Source


Comments

3 Responses to “Researchers Discover New Genetic Links to Alzheimer’s”

  1. Constant Gina on September 7th, 2009 8:59 pm

    I hope we can truly make advancements to the cure of Alzheimer cuz I have a couple family members suffering from the disease.

  2. Laura_ICARAstudy on September 9th, 2009 12:01 pm

    Any research that provides additional insight into Alzheimer’s is critical to finding a cure. It is also important for patients and families affected by diseases such as Alzheimer’s to consider participating in clinical studies. One such study is the ICARA (Bapi) Study (www.icarastudy.com), whose goal is to explore if an investigational drug, called Bapineuzumab, can help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. Clinical studies that test new treatments are the best chance we have for fighting this disease. Current therapies for Alzheimer’s treat the symptoms associated with it, not the disease itself.

  3. kollagen on September 29th, 2009 8:05 am

    I think Scientists still have a long way to go, before a full understanding of how different combinations of gene mutations predispose certain patients to Alzheimer’s. But identifying the genes linked to the disease may lead to the development of experimental drugs and a better understanding of the disease.

Got something to say? **Please Note** - Comments may be edited for clarity or obscenity, and all comments are published at the discretion of ChattahBox.com - Comments are the opinions of the individuals leaving them, and not of ChattahBox.com or its partners. - Please do not spam or submit comments that use copyright materials, hearsay or are based on reports where the supposed fact or quote is not a matter of public knowledge are also not permitted.