we know more about the genetic factors of the disease thanks to a study carried out in Lille

Better understand the causes of this pathology to better treat it. This is the objective of this study which reveals new genetic factors of the disease.

A major advance in Alzheimer’s research. A study conducted by an international consortium of researchers, notably within the Pasteur Institute in Lille, reveals the identification of 42 new genes associated with this disease. This discovery swells the hope of finding treatments in the coming years to fight against this scourge which 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, research director at Inserm, who led this work.

This research has identified 75 genes associated with this pathology, of which 42 are new, never having been before detected. “We are doubling our knowledge of the genetics of Alzheimer’s, says the researcher. After this discovery, the rest of our work consisted in characterizing these regions of the genome that we had identified to give them meaning in relation to our biological and clinical knowledge, and therefore better understand the cellular mechanisms and pathological processes at work. .”

These results open new avenues for therapeutic research. “There are several avenues to target, to develop several 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, clinical trials on the subject already exist, which will perhaps speed up developing an appropriate treatment.

Be careful, the emergence of a treatment is not for now. “It will take between 5 to 10 years to offer therapeutic components tested 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 the therapeutic responses, the researchers constructed a “genetic risk score”. “This makes it possible, depending on the genetic heritage of the individual, to assess the probability that this person will develop Alzheimer’s disease”, he explains. A tool for professionals to accelerate research on treatments to be developed. “The goal of the game is not to do screening, but when a patient notices one of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s at home, he can come and consult.”

“When the therapies become available, the question will be: when should these therapies be given and to which people,” 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, only one treatment (immunotherapy type) exists to fight against this disease: aducanumab. However, the latter is disputed. If authorized in the United States, it is not recognized by the European Medicines Agency.

The study was conducted by researchers from Inserm, the Institut Pasteur de Lille, the University Hospital of Lille and the University of Lille within laboratory U1167 “molecular risk factors and determinants of diseases related to to ageing”, 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 as many witnesses. The results are published in the scientific journal Natural genetics.

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