Mass General Hospital Team Discovers 13 New Alzheimer’s Gene Variants
NEC member Massachusetts General Hospital, the nation’s top-ranked research hospital, recently announced the discovery of 13 new gene variants associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. The discovery, made under the leadership of Rudolph Tanzi, Ph.D and his team, will hopefully inform and inspire new treatments for the illness.
Using whole-genome sequencing on over 2,200 people from families affected by Alzheimer’s, Dr. Tanzi’s team learned that the genetic mutations could affect the loss of synapses and neuroplasticity. This could be vital for further developments in therapies and pharmaceutical drugs targeted towards alleviating the neurological condition. Mass General has long been at the forefront of genetics research for Alzheimer’s, with Dr. Tanzi and his colleagues co-discovering genes such as the amyloid protein precursor and the presenilin genes that can cause hallmark signs of Alzheimer’s if mutated.
Dr. Tanzi, vice chair of neurology and director of Mass General’s genetics and aging research unit, said, “With this study, we believe we have created a new template for going beyond standard [genome-wide association studies] and association of disease with common genome variants, in which you miss much of the genetic landscape of the disease.”