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NY Genome Center to Sequence 1,000 Alzheimer's Patients

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The New York Genome Center said today that it plans to sequence 1,000 genomes from Alzheimer's patients over the next four years in order to better understand the genetic basis of the disease and the factors that contribute to disease risk and susceptibility.

The project is a collaboration between the NYGC, the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, and Illumina, and will be the NYGC's first large-scale sequencing project.

The nonprofit genome center, scheduled to open in the spring of 2012, is a consortium of 11 research institutes. The center will include both a CLIA-certified lab and an "Innovation Center" for emerging sequencing technologies (IS 11/8/2011).

In the Alzheimer's project, the researchers will begin by sequencing the whole genomes of 130 patient samples that have detailed clinical and brain pathology data, and then expand to 1,000 samples over the next four years.

The Alzheimer's genomes will be compared to a control group of healthy elderly individuals and all the data will be made freely available.

Peter Davies, the scientific director of the Litwin-Zucker Center for Research on Alzheimer's Disease at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, will lead the effort.

The project is being funded through a grant by private philanthropists Frank and Mildred Feinberg and their family, in memory of Mildred Feinberg's mother, who passed away from Alzheimer's.

As part of the collaboration between the NYGC and Illumina, Illumina will provide early access to "key new products" and the NYGC will provide Illumina with access to its institutional founding members, which include Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Columbia University, Cornell University/Weill Cornell Medical College, the Jackson Laboratory, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York University/NYU School of Medicine, North Shore-LIJ Health System, Rockefeller University, and Stony Brook University. The Hospital for Special Surgery is an associate founding member.

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