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Fundació ACE discovers two new genes involved in Alzheimer's


The GR@ACE project has discovered the relationship of two new genes involved in Alzheimer's. This allowd the patient's treatment to be adapted to the diagnosis. From the samples analyzed in the study of Fundació ACE, it has been discovered a relationship between Alzheimer's and the enzymes that synthesizes cholesterol and the neuronal death. In addition, the investigation enables scientists to distinguish the area of the genome where these two new genes act.

The prestigious Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Association has echoed the GR@ACE study (Genomic Research At ACE Foundation), led by Fundació ACE, and funded by the Fundació Bancària "la Caixa", Grifols, and Instituto de Salud Carlos III. The project, which has the largest collection of samples - especially of Alzheimer's - collected in a single center in the world.

The quality and homogeneity of the samples will be key to the design of new strategies and the promotion of combined therapies for the treatment of dementia. In total, the genome of 12,368 people has been analyzed during this first phase, 6,063 of them with Alzheimer's dementia.


Improvements in the treatment for Alzheimer's

Fundació ACE makes a diagnosis to assign a technical classification, depending on the possibility of the person to develop a dementia, in addition to Alzheimer's.

Taking into account the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and the probability of having another type of dementia simultaneously, groups of patients have been generated for the study, in a pioneering approach in the world of genetic research. This innovative distinction has made it possible to separate the following categories:

  • Genes are stable and the effect remains the same in all groups.

  • Genes of patients affected by Alzheimer's disease without other dementia involved.

  • Genes that show more effect on the samples of those people who, despite having Alzheimer's, their diagnosis indicates that they may also suffer from another dementia.

This distinction in the behavior of genes opens the possibility of adapting the treatment to the type of diagnosis of each patient. Furthermore, the discovery enables scientists to distinguish the area of the genome where these two new genes act.


Two new genes

On the other hand, Fundació ACE team has used the same samples to realize a classic genome tracing study, comparing the genetics of all cases, both of people with Alzheimer's and of those who do not suffer from the disease.

In this study, with the title Genome-wide association analysis of dementia and its clinical endophenotypes reveal novela loci associated with Alzheimer 's disease and three causality networks of AD: the GR@ACE project, in addition to the sample of the GR@ACE project, Genetic information from other studies has been integrated, reaching a final sample of 81,455 people. This analysis has allowed to detect two new genes related to Alzheimer's disease.

Despite the fact that further studies will be necessary, the new genes could be related to the enzyme that synthesizes cholesterol and the neuronal death process, respectively. Dr. Agustín Ruiz, head of research at Fundació ACE and the principal investigator of the project, points out that "this study is the only one in the world so far that can give these results precisely, because the quality and homogeneity of the samples allows us to go beyond".

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