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Biochem Pharmacol. 2005 Apr 1;69(7):1001-8.

Emerging prospects for the disease-modifying treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

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  • 1Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, 954 Gatewood Road, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA. <>


The currently approved therapies for Alzheimer's disease (AD) in the US are designed to modify the function of specific neurotransmitter systems in the brain. While these palliative treatments can benefit some patients for a period of time, they do not halt the relentless cognitive and behavioral deterioration that characterize this neurodegenerative disorder. Consequently, much current research on AD is directed toward illuminating the disease process itself, particularly the abnormal accumulation of certain proteins in brain: the amyloid-beta protein (Abeta) in senile plaques and cerebral blood vessels, and the tau protein in neurofibrillary tangles. Genetic, biochemical and pathologic evidence now favors a primary role of Abeta aggregation in the Alzheimer proteopathic cascade, and studies in mice indicate that lowering the amount of this protein in brain can be beneficial. Recently, Abeta-immunization therapy has emerged as a particularly promising therapeutic option for treating Alzheimer's disease, but unexpected treatment-related side-effects are an overriding issue. These adverse events were not anticipated from preclinical studies with rodents; hence, more biologically relevant models, such as nonhuman primates, are needed to test the safety and efficacy of novel therapies for Alzheimer's disease.

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