Five more genes which increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease have been identified, scientists say.
It takes the number of identified genes linked to Alzheimer’s to 10 – the new genes affect three bodily processes and could become targets for treatment.
If the effects of all 10 could be eliminated the risk of developing the disease would be cut by 60%, research published in Nature Genetics says.
However, the international team warns new treatments could be 15 years away.
The disease is thought to be up to 80% genetic. The first gene linked to the disease, APOE, was discovered more than 17 years ago but no new genes were discovered until 2009.
As Professor Kevin Morgan, from the University of Nottingham, put it: “We were basically clueless.”
The newly discovered genes affect three processes in the body: the way it deals with fat and cholesterol; the mechanism by which brain cells process big molecules (endocytosis); and the immune system.