Alzheimer's disease is a progressive and ultimately fatal neurological disorder for which there is no effective treatment at present. The disease is characterized pathologically by cerebral plaques that contain the amyloid-beta peptide and thread-like neuronal structures composed of the microtubule-associated protein TAU. Both amyloid-beta and TAU are thought to be crucial to pathogenesis, but compelling evidence supports amyloid-beta as the 'prime mover'. The main efforts for developing therapeutics are therefore focused on preventing amyloid-beta production, aggregation or downstream neurotoxic events. The progress of these and other approaches raises the hope that effective agents for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease will be available in the near future.