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New Alzheimer's gene identified

7th June 2007

A gene commonly found in people with Alzheimer's disease could bring scientists closer to determining who is at greatest risk of getting the disease.

The gene, GAB2, was found to be especially active in Alzheimer's patients. It is thought this is because GAB2 protein increases the rate at which tangles form.

Dr Eric Reiman, the study's first author, said: "We hope that this study… will contribute to the clarification of Alzheimer's risk factors and disease mechanisms, the discovery of promising new disease-slowing and prevention therapies and the identification of patient and at-risk people most likely to benefit form those treatments."

New technology has enabled researchers to produce a genetic map of brain tissue sample and isolate the GAB2 gene, pointing to the potential for new treatments or methods of prevention for those at risk of developing the disease.

Dr Dietrich Stephan, the study's senior author, said: "Today's technologies permit us to survey a sufficient number of letters throughout the human genome to provide a clearer picture of how life works and ultimately allow better clinical management of patients."