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Approved Research

Genetic stratification of immunosuppressive drugs on neurodegenerative disorders incidence

Principal Investigator: Dr Cynthia Sandor
Approved Research ID: 69610
Approval date: May 4th 2021

Lay summary

Scientific rationale: Cells of the immune system play an important role in brain disorders, such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, we propose that treating individuals with immune system suppressing drugs, also known as immunosuppressive drugs, might lessen the risk of developing such diseases.

We want to test this theory by comparing the occurrence of brain disorders in people who received such drugs and those that did not (Aim 1). However, immunosuppressive drugs in the general population are typically prescribed for reasons unrelated to brain disorders. For example, these drugs may be prescribed for the treatment of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. This means that the mutation/s that caused the original disease (arthritis, lupus, etc) could be the reason that we see a reduced the risk of developing brain disorders. We intend to study the relationship between the use of immunosuppressive drugs and the occurrence of brain disorders and understand whether the genetic cause of the disease, which necessitated the prescription of these drugs in the first place, are contributing to a reduced risk of developing brain disorders (Aim 2). Furthermore, we intend to identify if known cellular pathways involved in brain disorders are impacted by these drugs (Aim 3). Expected public health impact: The ultimate aim of this 24 months UKBIOBANK will be to develop immunosuppressive therapies for individuals with high-risk to develop a neurodegenerative disorder in the next decade and to decrease the devastating impact of these diseases on the patient and their family.