Breakthroughs - Frontotemporal Dementia and related disorders

Working across disciplines, scientists at the Tanz Centre have contributed to the understanding of Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), a complex disorder with multiple causes but which shares many similarities to Alzheimer’s disease.  Tanz Centre scientists have been credited with several new findings, including:

  1. With its similarities to Alzheimer’s, including the deposition of tau protein as neurofibrillary tangle-like structures inside neurons in some cases, Tanz researchers have identified several families with mutations in the tau or progranulin genes.
  1. In a global “first”, identifying the FTD-causing mutations in the IFT74 gene on chromosome 9 (2006).
  1. Generating a robust transgenic mouse model of disorders such as FTD, Alzheimer’s disease, and PSP, in which the tau protein accumulates inside brain cells, and leads to neurodegeneration. The tau protein is the principle component of neurofibrillary tangles. This mouse will help us and other scientists understand why the tau protein aggregates into neurotoxic intracellular inclusions, and how this causes neurodegeneration.