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Research team identifies new Alzheimer's gene

researchers suggest the healthy form of the GAB2 gene may protect brain cells from developing tangles, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimers disease. If the findings are confirmed, this discovery could provide a target for future Alzheimers therapeutic drugs.

We hope that this study, along with the genome-wide genetics studies to come, will contribute to the clarification of Alzheimers risk factors and disease mechanisms, the discovery of promising new disease-slowing and prevention therapies, and the identification of patients and at-risk people most likely to benefit from those treatments, said Dr. Eric Reiman, the studys first author and Executive Director of the Banner Alzheimers Institute.

After finding an association between a form of the GAB2 gene and Alzheimers disease in three separate groups, the researchers showed that the GAB2 gene is unusually active in vulnerable brain cells from Alzheimers patients and that the GAB2 protein produced by this gene is present in those brain cells containing tangles. When the researchers silenced GAB2 in preliminary studies it increased a molecular process thought to play an important role in the development of tangles. Based on these findings, the researchers hypothesize that GAB2 might function under normal conditions to compensate for the harmful effects of APOE4 and other genes in older people and that the GAB2 risk gene lacks this protective effect.

The study, funded by Kronos Science Laboratory, an affiliate of Phoenix-based Kronos Optimal Health Company, will enable Kronos to develop a test that aids in clinical diagnosis and help determine a persons genetic predisposition for developing Alzheimers disease.

This discovery allows us to accelerate the development process for creating a new diagnostic test that is capable of detecting the presence of GAB2, and may ultimately help millions of individuals reach a more informed decision regarding the most appropriate type and timing
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Contact: Galen Perry
gperry@tgen.org
602-343-8423
The Translational Genomics Research Institute
6-Jun-2007


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