May 4, 2009 -- I'm Dr. Rudy Tanzi. I'm director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School. Our work focuses on the genetics of Alzheimer's disease. On one hand, we're trying to find all of the genes that cause Alzheimer's disease, as part of our Alzheimer's Genome Project; and on the other hand we are taking the genes we already know about and try to translate that knowledge into new therapies to treat and prevent the disease.
Our lab has been involved with co-discovering three of the four known genes, and over this past year as part of a genome wide screen for novel Alzheimer's genes we found four novel candidate genes for late-onset Alzheimer's disease. And this finding was named by Time magazine as one of the top 10 medical breakthroughs of 2008.
We are continuing the Alzheimer's genome project with the goal of determining all of the genes that cause Alzheimer's disease. Our goal is to someday use those genes for a prevention strategy based on early prediction and early intervention to stop the disease before symptoms set in.