Reykjavik, ICELAND, October 23, 2001 ¾ Scientists at deCODE genetics (Nasdaq/Nasdaq Europe:DCGN) have successfully mapped a gene contributing to late-onset Parkinson’s disease, the first genetic factor ever mapped for the most common form of the disease. The company is continuing its research in order to identify and analyze this gene, and plans to use this information as the basis for the development of new DNA-based diagnostic tools, prevention regimes and drug development.
The gene was mapped to a small region of chromosome 1, through analysis of genotypic data from volunteer late-onset Parkinson’s patients and their unaffected relatives from 51 families from across Iceland. Although genetic factors for rarer forms of Parkinson’s have been identified by other research teams, deCODE’s finding is the result of the first population-wide study of the disease and represents the first genetic locus for the late-onset form. The study was described by deCODE scientists at the American Society for Human Genetics meeting in San Diego last week. In an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine in December 2000, deCODE researchers demonstrated that late-onset Parkinson’s tends to be more prevalent within certain families in Iceland, strongly suggesting the existence of a genetic factor in the disease.
“Many scientists and funding agencies had recently concluded that there was no identifiable genetic component to late-onset Parkinson’s,” said Dr. Kari Stefansson, CEO of deCODE genetics. “We are very pleased to have been able to counter this scepticism because our results offer the possibility of developing new drugs and diagnostics that may help to diagnose and treat this very devastating disease by targeting its root causes. As with the more than three-dozen other diseases in our in-house gene research, we plan to utilize the results of our Parkinson’s study to develop such products and bring them to market.”
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative neurological disorder that leads to trembling and a progressive loss of control of motor functions. It affects from 1-3 people per thousand worldwide, and is most common in those over the age of 50.
deCODE genetics, based in Reykjavik, Iceland, is using population genomics to create a new paradigm for healthcare. With its uniquely comprehensive population data deCODE is turning research on the genetic causes of common diseases into a growing range of products and services ¾ in gene discovery, pharmaceuticals, DNA-based diagnostics, pharmacogenomics, in silico discovery tools, bioinformatics and medical decision support systems. deCODE is delivering on the promise of the new genetics.SM Visit us on the Web at www.decode.com.
Any statements contained in this press release that relate to future plans, events or performance are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to, those relating to technology and product development, market acceptance, government regulation and regulatory approval processes, intellectual property rights and litigation, dependence on strategic partners, ability to obtain financing, competitive products and other risks identified in deCODE’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Actual results, events or performance may differ materially. deCODE undertakes no obligation to publicly release any revisions to these forward-looking statements resulting from events or circumstances after the date hereof.