A two-year battle over blood and brains in Texas could finally give an Augusta researcher the material she needs to track down genes that might be associated with Alzheimer's disease.
When Dr. Shirley Poduslo left Texas Tech University in October 2001 for the Medical College of Georgia, she had hoped to bring her DNA bank with her. Dr. Poduslo had spent the previous eight years getting blood samples from not only Alzheimer's patients but also many of their family members. In that time, she amassed more than 10,000 samples from 2,400 families. She also located spots on three chromosomes that seemed to have links to the disease.
Even though Dr. Poduslo's name was on the consent form and many of the families wanted her to keep the samples and continue the work, Texas Tech insisted the families would have to sign new consent forms agreeing to the transfer. Several of the families took the university to court, and last week they were notified that the university would turn over some of the samples.
About 1,800 people returned the new forms, and the university has agreed to transfer 1,490. Of the 60 donated brains that Dr. Poduslo was able to get new permission to receive, about 30 will be released to her. She is appealing the denials of the other samples.
"If we can get the samples, I'd be delighted," Dr. Poduslo said. "At least we'd have some of the families to work on."
She has also continued to recruit the families of Alzheimer's patients for the DNA bank at MCG.
Morris News Service reports were used in this article.
If you are in a family affected by Alzheimer's disease and would like more information on the DNA bank at the Medical College of Georgia, call (706) 721-0609 or (866) 207-1267. More information also can be found at www.mcg.edu/alzres.