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Alzheimer's gene bank seeks donors

Associated Press
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 23, 2003

CHICAGO - Families with several members afflicted with Alzheimer's disease are being recruited for a new gene bank that may help speed new treatments or even prevention.

The program was announced Tuesday by the Chicago-based Alzheimer's Association, which is working with the National Institute on Aging to create a gene bank with samples from more than 1,000 families affected by late-onset Alzheimer's. Most of the 4-million Americans with Alzheimer's have that form of the disease, which typically is diagnosed after age 60.

While three genes have been linked to earlier-onset disease, researchers are less certain about the genetic causes of late-onset Alzheimer's.

"By getting large samples like this we should be able to start zeroing in on these genes," said Creighton Phelps, director of the NIA's Alzheimer's Disease Centers network.

Participants will have a single simple blood test and interview, which could be done by their own doctors, said William Thies, medical director of the Alzheimer's Association.

Interested families should contact local association chapters or www.alz.org or www.nia.nih.gov Information also is available at the Indiana University repository at 1-800-526-2839.

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