In a breakthrough which may pave the way for an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s, scientists have identified five genes which they claim raise the risk of the disease.
With the discovery of the five new genes, a total of 10 genes are now known to be linked with the most common form of dementia, says the international team of scientists from the U.S. and Britain.
Lead scientist Professor Julie Williams of Cardiff University said that with the breakthrough, it may soon be possible to identify patients most at risk from Alzheimer’s disease, and offer them drugs to prevent it.
“I can envisage in 10 to 15 years’ time we may be taking a number of drugs to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s in the same way as we take statins now to prevent heart disease,” the ‘Daily Express’ quoted her as saying.
The research involved analysing the DNA of nearly 60,000 people with and without the disease.
Prof Williams said that eventually a simple blood test could be used to identify signs of the disease.
She said, “What is exciting about our findings is that the genetic variations we’ve found all fit together.
Modern technology has allowed us to complete this work and we’re really getting to the crux of what causes Alzheimer’s.”
Experts have hailed the findings published in the latest edition of the ‘Nature Genetics’ journal.
Dr. Susanne Sorensen, of the Alzheimer’s Society, said, “These studies will give scientists clues as to how the disease might develop. Most importantly their identification could also lead to the development of drug treatments in the longer term.”
Rebecca Wood of Alzheimer’s Research U.K., which part- funded the study, added, ‘These findings are a step towards defeating dementia.”