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Towards a cure for Alzheimer's Disease

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Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. Among the top ten causes of death worldwide, this condition is currently the only one that we cannot prevent, cure or even slow down. In the last twenty years, great advances have been made in understanding the molecular origins of this disease, which we now know to be caused by the formation of abnormal protein aggregates in the brain of affected patients. Despite this knowledge, however, it has been extremely challenging to identify drugs capable of preventing the formation, or promoting the removal, of such protein aggregates. In this lecture I will describe how recent methodological advances have led to the discovery of a group of small molecules capable of blocking the first steps in the protein aggregation process. As this type of small molecules could be expected to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, they have been called ‘neurostatins’, in analogy with statins, which lower the probability of developing heart conditions.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Philosophical Society series.

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