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Drug Discov Today Technol. 2013 Spring;10(1):e115-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ddtec.2012.02.002.

Alzheimer's disease drug discovery: in vivo screening using Caenorhabditis elegans as a model for β-amyloid peptide-induced toxicity.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a complex human neurodegenerative disease. Currently the therapeutics for AD only treats the symptoms. While numbers of excellent studies have used mammalian models to discover new compounds, the time and effort involved with screening large numbers of candidates is prohibitive. Cultured mammalian neurons are often used to perform high-throughput screens (HTS); however, cell culture lacks the organismal complexity involved in AD. To address these issues several researchers are turning to the roundworm, Caenorhabditis elegans. C. elegans has numerous models of both Tau and Ab induced toxicity, the two prime components observed to correlate with AD pathology. These models have led to the discovery of numerous AD modulating candidates. Further, the ease of performing RNA interference for any gene in the C. elegans genome allows for identification of proteins involved in the mechanism of drug action. These attributes make C. elegans well positioned to aid in the discovery of new AD therapies.

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