The AlzGene Database

Posted: Aug. 20, 2009

Cure Alzheimer’s is funding the management and continued development of a revolutionary web based database.

AlzGene is a resource for Alzheimer's researchers, providing data and meta-analyses from hundreds of genetic association studies in an easy-to-use, searchable database. A team of researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital led by Dr. Lars Bertram, Assistant Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School has developed the AlzGene data base in collaboration with the Alzheimer's Research Forum, and has recently published a paper on this contribution to finding a cure to Alzheimer's in the prestigeous journal Nature Genetics. Scientists interested in a particular gene can search for it in AlzGene to see what previous studies have reported, receiving a wealth of information in a very short amount of time.

Family history is the second greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease after age, and the growing understanding of AD genetics is a critical part of the science behind the disease. In the past decade, literally hundreds of reports have been published claiming or refuting genetic association between AD genes and disease risk, onset age variation, or other phenotypic variables. Presently, more than half a dozen AD association studies are being published monthly from research groups worldwide. For the AD genetics research community (and for the public as well), this wealth of information is becoming increasingly difficult to follow, evaluate and—most importantly—to interpret. The AlzGene database has been developed to manage this huge amount of information and to allow it to be used productively.

The goal of the database is to serve as an unbiased, centralized, publicly available and regularly updated collection of genetic association studies. To date, the database contains detailed summaries of nearly 900 studies on over 360 different genes that have been tested for association with AD. Although the paper describing AlzGene has not yet been published, AlzGene thus far has been highly successful with AD researchers, evidenced by several publications citing AlzGene in their own original research papers.

You can take a peak at the AlzGene website (although you have to be a registered user to search on the site) at www.alzgene.org.