Better understand the causes of this pathology to treat it better. This is the objective of this study that reveals new genetic factors of the disease.
A breakthrough in Alzheimer’s research. A study carried out by an international consortium of researchers, in particular from the Pasteur Institute in Lille, reveals the identification of 42 new genes associated with this disease. This discovery raises the hope of finding treatments in the coming years to combat this scourge that affects approximately 1,200,000 people in France.
“In the field of genetics, these advances are the most important in recent years on Alzheimer’s disease,” says Jean-Charles Lambert, director of research at Inserm, who led this work.
This research has identified 75 genes associated with this pathology, of which 42 are new, never been before detected. “We are doubling down on our knowledge of the genetics of Alzheimer’s, says the researcher. After this discovery, the rest of our work consisted of characterizing these regions of the genome that we had identified in order to give them meaning in relation to our biological and clinical knowledge, and thus better understand the cellular mechanisms and pathological processes at play”.
These results open new avenues for therapeutic research. “There are several avenues to target, to develop various treatments, says Jean-Charles Lambert. Genetics shows that a monotherapeutic approach is not possible, it must be polytherapeutic. There will be no miracle drug, no single treatment.”
One of these pathways would be the inflammatory response in the individual. “We must control it and block it as soon as possible,” he explains. Good news, there are already clinical trials on the subject, which may speed up develop an appropriate treatment.
Eye, the appearance of a treatment is not for now. “It will take between 5 and 10 years to offer therapeutic components proven in clinical trials”, says Jean-Charles Lambert.
Make no mistake, Alzheimer’s is not hereditary. “Just because someone in your family has the disease doesn’t mean you will get it, recalls the Inserm researcher. It’s not a fatality.” That said, the genetic component of a person can reinforce the predispositions to develop the pathology. “It represents 60 to 80% of the attributable risk, the rest are modifiable risk factors (diabetes, obesity, diet, sports practices)”.
To refine therapeutic responses, the researchers constructed a “genetic risk score.” “This allows, depending on the genetic inheritance of the individual, to assess the probability that this person will develop Alzheimer’s disease”, he explains. A tool for professionals to speed up the investigation of the treatments to be developed. “The objective of the game is not to do screening, but when a patient notices any of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s at home, they can come to consult.”
“When the therapies become available, the question will be: when should these therapies be given and to whom?” asks the researcher. In this context, in fact, the calculation of the genetic score will make it possible to offer the best therapeutic care.
To date there is only one treatment (immunotherapy type) to fight this disease: aducanumab. However, the latter is in dispute. If it is authorized in the United States, it is not recognized by the European Medicines Agency.
The study was carried out by researchers from Inserm, the Institut Pasteur de Lille, the University Hospital of Lille and the University of Lille within the U1167 laboratory “molecular risk factors and determinants of age-related diseases”, in collaboration with an international consortium.
never the largest group of Alzheimer’s patients for a study of this disease: 111,326 cases have been studied worldwide, with the same number of witnesses. The results are published in the scientific journal Nature Genetics.