Progress Toward a Cure?

Posted July 6, 2009

We believe there is good progress being made toward an end to this terrible disease. But there’s more to finding a cure than meets the eye. In fact, there are 4 key steps on the road to a cure, and each one takes tremendous time, effort and money:

  • find all the genes that contribute to risk for the disease;
  • figure out which ones contribute the most and have the best prospects for treatment;
  • determine how these genes actually lead to increased risk;
  • and find the drug therapies that can most safely and effectively disrupt this link.

Progress along this path is accelerating. For instance, we now know, thanks to the Alzheimer’s Genome Project™ – supported by the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund – that there are more than 70 genes that contribute to risk for the disease. Some of these newly identified genes appear to be prime candidates for effective drug therapy.

Other recent discoveries have opened new doorways to understanding more about Alzheimer’s leading “bad guy”, the Abeta peptide. When these bind together and build up in the brain, they contribute to the dysfunction of critical neuronal synapses, disrupting the ability of cells in the brain to communicate with one another. We know more now about how those Abeta peptides come together and what might be done to keep them apart or clear them out of the brain before they do their damage.

Researchers know a lot more now than they did even five years ago. But it’s a life and death race. Today, about half of the population over 85 has the disease. The Baby Boomers are entering the prime age range at risk for Alzheimer’s (over 65), and as they continue to age we are facing an epidemic that could devastate families and ravage our economy.

So, how do we get to a cure quicker? We believe that by following the strategy outlined above and increasing funding for the most promising research, we will get there. We are making progress, but we still have a lot of work to do. Join us and help fund the cure in the next decade.