Gene Discovery May Help Fight Alzheimer's

From Drugs.com - December 5, 2017

Gene Discovery May Help Fight Alzheimer's

TUESDAY, Dec. 5, 2017 -- Alzheimer's disease has long remained a deadly mystery.

But scientists say they have now pinpointed a rare piece of DNA that may shield against the illness -- even in people who are otherwise at high risk.

The discovery may explain why some people with known genetic risk factors do not develop Alzheimer's, the study authors said.

And it could lead to new ways to fight the memory-robbing disease. For example, this genetic function could potentially be targeted with drugs to help lower people's odds of developing Alzheimer's.

"There are currently no meaningful interventions for Alzheimer's disease -- no prevention, no modifying therapies, no cure," said study co-leader John Kauwe. He is a professor at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

"The discoveries we are reporting in this manuscript provide a new target with a new mechanism that we believe has great potential to impact Alzheimer's disease in the future," Kauwe said in a university news release.

The finding came from analysis of the Utah Population Database, which included 20 million genealogical and historical medical records. The researchers identified families with a large number of people who had the main genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's -- E4 Allele -- but did not develop the disease.

The investigators then checked the individuals for DNA that they shared with each other but not with relatives who had developed Alzheimer's. The result was the discovery that the resilient people shared a variant in the RAB10 gene, while those who developed Alzheimer's did not have this gene variant.


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