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US-European Project Launched to ID Alzheimer's Genes

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A US-European effort to identify genes associated with Alzheimer's disease was officially launched today.

Called the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project, or IGAP, the project brings together scientists from four university research groups and creates a shared resource database that includes genetic information on more than 40,000 patients.

"Identification of genes that contribute to Alzheimer's risk and that influence the progression of disease will help lead us to the cause of the disease, identify proteins and other new targets for drug development, and provide genetic methods for determining which people are at greatest risk for Alzheimer's disease when preventative measures become available," said Gerard Schellenberg, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and who will be leading work done by one of the four groups comprising IGAP, the Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium.

In a statement, IGAP said that while each of the four groups are working with thousands of participants both with and without AD, by working together they can accelerate gene discovery.

The formation of IGAP is supported by the Alzheimer's Association and the Fondation Plan Alzheimer.

The other IGAP members are the European Alzheimer's Disease Initiative in France, being led by Philippe Amouyel, a professor at the Institute Pasteur de Lille and Lille University in epidemiology and public health; the Genetic and Environmental Risk in Alzheimer's Disease from the UK, led by Julie Williams, a professor of psychological medicine at Cardiff University School of Medicine; and the neurology subgroup of the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology, led by Sudha Seshadri, an associate professor of neurology at the Boston University School of Medicine.

Amouyel said that the initial work of IGAP will be to pool the four groups' data for analysis. "The next step will be to perform new analysis on subjects not yet in any genetics studies to further increase the number of people in our studies and to increase the ability to detect new genes," he said.

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