Amyloid β (Aβ) peptides have long been viewed as a potential target for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Aggregation of Aβ peptides in the brain tissue is believed to be an exclusively pathological process. Therefore, blocking the initial stages of Aβ peptide aggregation with small molecules could hold considerable promise as the starting point for the development of new therapies for AD. Recent rapid progresses in our understanding of toxic amyloid assembly provide a fresh impetus for this interesting approach. Here, we discuss the problems, challenges and new concepts in targeting Aβ peptides.