NIA Funds Two-Year Pilot Grant to Study Genetics of Alzheimer’s Disease in People of Asian Heritage

A team of researchers led by Li-San Wang, PhD, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, has been awarded a two-year pilot grant expected to total $4.8 million from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to study the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease in people of Asian heritage.

Making up 6% and 10% of the US and Canadian populations, respectively, Asians are the fastest-growing populations in both countries, yet they are underrepresented in AD research. The new project called the Asian Cohort for Alzheimer’s Disease (ACAD) aims to address this gap by enrolling a population of at least 5,000 participants of Asian Ancestry in the United States and Canada. The goal is to obtain a comprehensive enough sample to enable the discovery of new gene variants related to AD risk. This would lead to more reliable AD diagnostics, more accurate risk predictions, and more effective treatments and health delivery for the Asian American and Canadian populations.

“Having a better understanding of these risk factors will inform treatment and other care-related decisions, especially when effective treatments are available, and should also help us make more accurate models of the lifetime Alzheimer’s risk in these fast-growing segments of the aging population.” Dr. Wang said.

The project is under the support of centers such as the Penn Neurodegeneration Genomics Center, the Genome Center for Alzheimer’s Disease (GCAD), the NIA Genetics of Alzheimer’s Disease Data Storage Site (NIAGADS), the IOA, and the Penn Center for Global Genomics and Health Equity.

Penn Medicine News Release

For more information about the study, see the ACAD study website (http://www.acadstudy.org).

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