New Web-based Alzheimer's Disease Genetic Research Clearinghouse Launched

Posted: Feb. 27, 2007

First-of-its-Kind Online Resource (ww.alzgene.org) Offers Researchers an Extensive Database of Studies on the Genes Associated with Alzheimer's Risk

Boston, MA – AlzGene, a web-based clearinghouse for researchers working to unlock the genetic makeup of Alzheimer’s Disease, has been launched as a way to gather and analyze studies by and for investigators around the world. The project aims to bring clarity to the increasingly prolific and confusing field of Alzheimer’s genetics research.

“As researchers feverishly work on mapping the genes linked to the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, staying informed about what our peers are uncovering is important, but increasingly challenging,” said Dr. Lars Bertram, the lead researcher behind AlzGene.  “Nearly a dozen relevant studies are being published each month from research groups worldwide.  This wealth of information is becoming more and more difficult to follow, evaluate, and most importantly, to interpret.  We developed AlzGene to help.”

Dr. Bertram, assistant professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, and a team of researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health developed the AlzGene database (www.alzgene.org) in collaboration with the Alzheimer Research Forum (www.alzforum.org).  The database currently includes nearly 1,000 different studies.

The goal of the AlzGene database is to provide an unbiased and regularly updated collection of genetic association studies performed on Alzheimer’s disease phenotypes. Only studies published in peer-reviewed journals available in English are considered for inclusion. Researchers can post comments on the all papers on the site. The site also contains a continuously updated list

displaying the genes most strongly associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.

After initial funding by others, AlzGene is now supported exclusively by the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. The site is the first project of its kind for any of the genetically complex diseases, like heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and cancer.

“Gene research is critical to finding a breakthrough to slow, cure, or reverse Alzheimer’s disease,” said Tim Armour, President of the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.  “The AlzGene site is a unique, innovative Internet resource for the research community around the world to learn about, compare, and discuss the latest findings on Alzheimer’s gene research.”

Dr. Bertram and his colleagues collected the genotype and key demographic data from more than 1,000 studies and systematically summarized their findings [LB: a little too much ‘key’ for me].  In addition to displaying this exhaustive collection of all genetic association studies published in the field, AlzGene also provides up-to-date meta-analyses on all genetic markers with published genotype data available in three or more independent samples.

“The Alzgene database currently has nearly 180 such meta-analyses on markers distributed over more than 90 different genes,” said Bertram.   “One of the latest additions was the discovery of SORL1, the newest gene to be associated with late onset Alzheimer’s. We believe the site will continue to grow by leaps and bounds and serve as the online genetics community for researchers working to find a cure for Alzheimer’s.”

Cure Alzheimer's FundTM is a public charity established to provide funding for targeted research into the causes of Alzheimer’s disease. Cure Alzheimer's Fund supports and funds research with the highest probability of slowing, stopping or reversing Alzheimer's disease. For more information please visit http://www.curealzfund.org/