Amyloid beta (A beta) is a 39-43 residue amyloidogenic peptide that is deposited into the extracellular amyloid plaques which characterize an Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain. A beta is derived from the amyloid precursor protein (APP) and undergoes a toxic conformational change (gain of toxic function). The length of the A beta peptide dramatically influences its properties with the longer 42 and 43 residue species being more amyloidogenic. The genetics of familial AD (FAD) supports a central role for A beta in AD since mutations in the FAD causing genes APP and the presenilins (PS1 and PS2) increase the formation of A beta 42,43. Considerable activity is directed towards A beta as a therapeutic target. These strategies aim to inhibit A beta synthesis, A beta fibril formation, its toxic actions on cells or promote its clearance from the brain.