Researchers have announced that they have found 42 new risk genes for Alzheimer’s disease.
In total, a new international study, published in Nature Genetics, identified 75 genes that were associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s, with 42 of these not previously linked to the condition.
Dr Susan Kohlhaas, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK said: “Genes are the instruction manual for life, the code for producing proteins that govern our biology. Certain gene variations can pre-dispose someone to disease, including Alzheimer’s, however they aren’t the only factor, with age and other lifestyle factors accounting for some of the risk.
“Previous genetic discoveries underpin much of our current understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and the direction of research into new treatments. Creating an extensive list of Alzheimer’s disease risk genes is like having the edge pieces of a puzzle put together, and, while this work doesn’t give us the full picture, it provides a valuable framework for future developments.
“Using this genomic wide sequencing approach, researchers were able to uncover more evidence that the immune system plays a pivotal role in the development of Alzheimer’s, which gives us clues about the pathways that might be most important to look at in our search for new treatments. The research also, however, tells us just how complex Alzheimer’s is, with several different mechanisms implicated in the development of the disease.
“It’s going to take a concerted and global effort to develop life-changing treatments, but this seminal study also gives us hope that research will win, and it gives us the opportunity to work on new treatment targets.
“Well-conducted collaborative efforts like this, including researchers at the UK Dementia Research Institute, underline the positive impact that investment in dementia research in the UK can deliver. Alzheimer’s Research UK are proud to have co-founded the UK DRI and must thank the dedication of our supporters across the UK for making this work possible.”