Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New Genes adding to the development of Alzheimer's Disease

A largest study was done in identifying four new genes that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers from a consortium of 44 universities and research institutions in the United States, including Rush University Medical Center worked together in findings of new genes involved in developing risk for Alzheimer’s disease in which each gene is linked to the formation of dementia later in life.
In the study, the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium contributed in analyzing more than 11,000 people with Alzheimer’s disease and also about same number of elderly people who have no symptoms of dementia. The Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center contributed clinical and genomic data from more than 1,500 participants in the Rush Orders Study and the Rush Memory and Aging Project. Three other consortia conducted data from additional people. Over 54,000 of people were analyzed in this study. The four genes are confirmed that are involved with Alzheimer’s disease. These genes include MS4A, CD2AP, CD33 and EPHA1, which contribute to identifying and confirming other two genes, BIN1 and ABCA7. The gene for apolipoprotein E-e4, APOE0e4 has been identified over 15 years ago and is known to have largest effect on risk. Also, other genes including CR1, CLU, and BIN1 were found over past two years.
Identifying new genes has led to believe that it provides major clues about the causes of the disease, which is very critical information to the drug discovery. In addition, this study can help researchers find and understand the pathogenic mechanisms that are involved in the developing this disease, which takes place in the brain by destroying larger parts of the brain and causing complete loss of cognitive abilities before any symptoms appear.

Posted by Arpita Patel


  1. This is a huge break through for the future of Alzheimer's desease treatment. It would be amazing to see drugs created that can target these genes and possibly repress them before they have a chance to negatively affect the patient. This is a really terrible disease and to see such progress really gives hope that soon Alzheimer's will be a disease of the past.

    Posted by Marlena Grasso

  2. This is a great discovery, however there are always the questions of how much the treatment for destroying theses genes would cost, and if insurance companies will cover it once the treatment starts being used. On the other hand, it would be interesting to know how these genes interact with others and if targeting will have other affects.

    Posted by: Nelson Milano

  3. Marlena,

    I hope that too that the researchers are able to create new drugs from these genes which would be very helpful in treating this disease for futures. Although, I am not sure if the disease will be totally curable, new findings of drugs would be beneficial in reducing symptoms.

    I totally agree with you about how costly the newly being discovered drugs would be. Insurance companies are always a problem depending on what type of insurance one has. I am curious as well to see the side effects of these genes with new drugs that are yet to be created.

    Arpita Patel

  4. It is great news to hear that so many different institutions can work collaboratively to make important discoveries in genetics. Being able to locate and identify specific genes involved in Alzheimer's Disease brings scientists one step closer to finding ways to prevent Alzheimer's and potentially ways to reverse the effects.

    Posted by Kevin McLaughlin

  5. I am curious to know what a drug being created to treat a disease that shows no symptoms before its onset would be developed and how it would be distributed. Would it be designed to prevent the development of the disease and therefore be given to anyone and everyone whose genes show a promise of Alzheimer's later in life? Or would it be a drug used to simply control the symptoms of Alzheimer's once they appear? Either way, this a great discovery and hopefully these findings will serve a substantial purpose.

    Posted by Brianna Lee

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