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Fiona Kerr - Alzheimer's Association International Conference highlights

23 July 2012

Dr Fiona Kerr (Partridge Lab) attended the AAIC in Vancouver, 14th-19th July 2012 last week.

Fiona writes: Over the last three years Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) have led to the discovery of variants in 10 new genes which associate with increased risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD). This has required an unprecedented level of collaboration within the AD field, pulling together clinical cohorts world-wide in order to achieve the large data-sets required to obtain meaningful findings in such studies. At this year’s AAIC the excitement re-instated in Alzheimer’s by this research was evident, with scientists looking toward the post-GWAS era of AD discovery. We need to understand more about the effect of these AD-risk variants on gene expression and function, and their potential role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease pathology. If any of these genes are found to play a causal role in AD pathogenesis, beyond simply associating with increased risk for disease development, this could uncover potential new therapeutic targets for the prevention and treatment of LOAD.