‘Exciting Advance’ in Alzheimer's Research May Help With Preventative Medicine

Researchers hoping to develop a cure for Alzheimer’s disease have discovered two new genes that show promise to help them in their pursuit.

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According to the study, conducted by researchers at Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, newly found genes PLCG2 and ABI3 were found to have differing roles: one has a protective effect, while varying versions of the second make the disease more or less likely. 

Building on the team’s previous work, which identified 24 other notable genes, their latest results may offer researchers a better chance at creating an effective treatment that could minimize the effects of the incurable disease. 

"These particular genes, which suggest that immune cells in the brain play a causal role in the disease are very good targets for potential drug treatment," Dr. Rebecca Sims of Cardiff’s University of Medicine said in a media release. "These are much more exciting than previous genes we have identified."

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Published July 17 in Nature Genetics, the study compared the DNA of tens of thousands of individuals with Alzheimer’s with age-matched persons that do not carry the disease. 

"The discovery of two new risk genes for Alzheimer's is an exciting advance that could help to deepen our understanding of what happens in the brains of people with the disease," Dr. Doug Brown, director of research and development at the Alzheimer’s Society, which helped fund the research with Alzheimer’s Research UK, told the Independent. 

For Dr. Rosa Sancho, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, the new finding is like “finding puzzle pieces that biologists can start to fit together to build a complete picture of a disease.”

With more than 850,000 people living with Alzheimer’s in Britain alone, scientists hope the discovery will churn out effective tactics to combat the disease. 

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