Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s disease, symptoms first appear after age 65. Estimates vary, but experts suggest that as many as 5.1 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s disease.
Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. At the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, we are working to alter that current reality.
Our work toward unraveling the mysteries of Alzheimer’s disease and memory disorders is conducted through a large research and clinical program devoted to learning about Alzheimer’s at every level — from basic biology to clinical response to medications. Our scientists are running dozens of projects in the laboratory with patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and other age-related memory problems as they look for genes that may put people at risk for Alzheimer’s, conduct promising experimental drug trials, and learn about the disease through brain imaging, neurocognitive testing and basic research on the pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s – the plaques and tangles that are found in the brains of patients.
Here at the Feinstein Institute, we are attacking the mind-robbing disorder from every angle. Time and the continued dedication of our research team will tell whether the discovery of CALHM1 will pave the way for new therapeutic options for Alzheimer’s disease. Also, our investigators are working closely with patients, their families and older people without Alzheimer’s to identify the factors which increase or decrease risk for the disease.
Our ultimate goal? To understand the basic biological processes that happen in the brain in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease. An improved understanding of the cellular and molecular nature of these changes will lead to the discovery and development of drugs to block the progress of the disease in its earliest stages. The team is already actively involved in drug discovery programs aimed at blocking some of the earliest changes detectable in Alzheimer’s disease. Recently, our scientists have discovered a new risk gene for Alzheimer’s disease, a novel treatment that is heading into clinical trials, and a new way of looking at the biological triggers for Alzheimer’s disease.
Ultimately, our ongoing work to develop more accurate early detection of Alzheimer’s disease will prove vital to treatment of early stage disease. We are also very committed to discovering what factors make the brains of some individuals more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease. As these factors are better defined, efforts to prevent the disease move closer to success.
Principal investigators for Alzheimer’s disease research include Yousef Al-Abed, MD; Peter Davies, PhD; Terry E. Goldberg, PhD; Marc L. Gordon, MD; Patricio T. Huerta, PhD; Jeremy Koppel, MD and Philippe Marambaud, PhD.