The impact Alzheimer’s has on our minds and lives is evident to all of us, and we are in desperate need of drugs that are safer and more effective. There are failures in biochemical processes in the Alzheimer’s disease brain, and as this disease progresses there is an accumulation of a protein called tau that becomes toxic. Tau is a protein that we need throughout life, however, in Alzheimer’s disease it changes and becomes ‘sticky’, causing the protein to aggregate in our brain cells. Over time these protein aggregates give way to a range of toxic pathways that build up over time resulting in what we know as dementia.
This research will develop strategies that correct this biochemical failure leading to toxic tau aggregates. Firstly, we have designed several new drugs that will promote the stability of ‘good tau’, and we have designed a compound that can reduce the dynamic process that turns ‘good tau’ into ‘bad tau’. This work aims to create new therapies that specifically target tau and help to reduce the burden of these protein aggregates in the brain leading to better brain health as we age.
Leah Beauchamp is a postdoctoral research in the Neurotherapeutics Laboratory at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health.