A team of researchers have identified a network of nine genes that play a key role in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and these findings could help scientists develop new treatments to delay the onset of the disease.
In a study of a family of 5,000 people in Columbia, scientists identified genes that delayed the disease, and others that accelerated it, and by how much.
Arcos-Burgos at the John Curtin School of Medical Research said that if they could work out how to decelerate the disease, then they could have a profound impact.
Burgos said that it would be more successful to delay the onset of the disease than to prevent it completely, adding that even if they delay the onset by on average one year, that would mean nine million fewer people will have the disease in 2050.
Burgos and his team studied the variable age of onset of dementia in this family and with the cooperation of the family, the team were able to discount environmental factors and trace their genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s Disease back to a founder mutation in one individual who came to the region about 500 years ago.
The team was able to isolate the nine genes involved in Alzheimer’s, some of which delay the onset by up to 17 years, while others advance its progress.
The study is published in the Journal Molecular Psychiatry.