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Grant given to investigate variants of the Alzheimer’s gene

Associate Professor Olav Andersen from Aarhus University and his colleagues from abroad have received a grant of DKK 9.5 million from a joint EU programme. The grant will be use to conduct research into what is known as the SORL1 gene, which is regarded as one of Alzheimer’s most important risk factors, with some variants of the gene even being the cause of the disease.

2020.01.14 | Helle Horskjær Hansen

Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, and the disease which affects 50,000 Danes remains untreatable.

Working together with colleagues from Germany, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, Olav Andersen from the Department of Biomedicine will investigate the role that the SORL1 gene plays in relation to the development of Alzheimer's. The grant to make the study possible comes from JPND, which is a joint EU programme in the field of neuro-degenerative diseases. The Innovation Fund Denmark and the Velux Foundation are also part of the programme.

The researchers are still unsure about which variants of the gene cause the disease, which variants increase the risk, and which variants are benign.

”Up to two per cent of all Alzheimer's patients have a variant of the SORL1 gene that is either diseased or increases the risk greatly, while an even larger proportion of patients carry a SORL1 variant that has an effect but where we don’t actually know what this effect is," explains Olav Andersen.

For this reason, there is a pressing need to identify and evaluate SORL1 variants before it will be possible to make a clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's connected to SORL1.

"After this we need to develop an applicable method to measure the effect of the variants so that we can in the longer term work to develop medications that are tailored for dementia sufferers who carry one of the disease variants," he explains.


Associate Professor Olav Andersen
Aarhus University, Department of Biomedicine
Mobil: (+45) 2037 0740
Email: o.andersen@biomed.au.dk

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