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Mayo Clinic releases trove of Alzheimer’s disease data

A research team from Mayo Clinic in Florida has made public a trove of Alzheimer’s disease data aimed at accelerating the development of therapies. The data represents extensive whole-genome genotype and gene expression patterns on more than 2,650 individuals – including people with and without dementia – and involving more than 842 million data points.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has described the team’s efforts as pioneering.

“The data implicates a number of genes that are likely to be involved in disease pathways, providing researchers with many testable hypotheses,” says Nilufer Taner, M.D., Ph.D. (NSCI ’01, NSCI ’03, I-1 ’04, N ’07, N-BN ’08), Department of Neurology at Mayo Clinic in Florida, the study’s senior investigator. “By making available these very large, high-quality molecular and clinical data sets, we are inviting other investigators around the world to mine the information and test their notions of how best to prevent, treat or stop the disease. Release of this data represents a novel type of sharing paradigm.”

Publication of the data and its description in the supporting study are, in part, the product of a 2013 $7.5 million grant from the NIH aimed at bringing together large data and expertise from different groups to understand Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in a way that advances prevention and treatment. The Mayo-led team is one of six participating in the Accelerating Medicines Partnership for Alzheimer’s Disease (AMP-AD) Target Discovery and Preclinical Validation Project, a large-scale team science effort applying open science principles to discover the next-generation therapeutic targets for Alzheimer’s disease.

“It is key to make these invaluable data sets widely accessible and usable by the larger research community to speed up the generation of knowledge needed for successful therapy development,” says Suzana Petanceska, Ph.D., program director in the Division of Neuroscience at the National Institute on Aging. “The complexity of the human brain and the processes involved in development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease have been major barriers to drug development.”

Collaborating institutions on the Mayo Clinic-led multiteam study include the University of Florida in Gainesville, and the Institute for Systems Biology and Sage Bionetworks, both in Seattle.

 

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