Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is funding the upkeep and continued development of a revolutionary Web-based database. AlzGene is a fantastic resource for Alzheimer’s researchers, providing data and meta-analyses from hundreds of genetic association studies in an easy-to-use, searchable database. 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 previous decades, hundreds of reports have been published claiming or refuting genetic association between AD genes and disease risk. Presently, nearly a dozen AD association studies are being published monthly from research groups worldwide.
The pace of genetics research was substantially stepped up by the advent of genomewide association studies (GWAS), of which more than a dozen already have been published on AD. An even steeper increase can be expected to result from a widespread application of so-called “next-generation sequencing” technologies. For the AD genetics research community, this wealth of information is becoming increasingly difficult to follow, evaluate and interpret. The AlzGene database has been developed to manage this huge amount of information and to allow it to be used productively. AlzGene is undergoing a major software upgrade in order to efficiently handle data emerging from large-scale genetics studies.