Advances in developing novel therapeutic strategies for Alzheimer's disease

Mol Neurodegener. 2018 Dec 12;13(1):64. doi: 10.1186/s13024-018-0299-8.


Alzheimer's Disease (AD), the most prevalent neurodegenerative disease of aging, affects one in eight older Americans. Nearly all drug treatments tested for AD today have failed to show any efficacy. There is a great need for therapies to prevent and/or slow the progression of AD. The major challenge in AD drug development is lack of clarity about the mechanisms underlying AD pathogenesis and pathophysiology. Several studies support the notion that AD is a multifactorial disease. While there is abundant evidence that amyloid plays a role in AD pathogenesis, other mechanisms have been implicated in AD such as tangle formation and spread, dysregulated protein degradation pathways, neuroinflammation, and loss of support by neurotrophic factors. Therefore, current paradigms of AD drug design have been shifted from single target approach (primarily amyloid-centric) to developing drugs targeted at multiple disease aspects, and from treating AD at later stages of disease progression to focusing on preventive strategies at early stages of disease development. Here, we summarize current strategies and new trends of AD drug development, including pre-clinical and clinical trials that target different aspects of disease (mechanism-based versus non-mechanism based, e.g. symptomatic treatments, lifestyle modifications and risk factor management).

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Drug development; Novel therapies; Pre-clinical and clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials as Topic*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Progression*
  • Drug Development*
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors