Alzheimer’s disease is characterised by the failure of cognitive functions such as language, loss of memory and perception of reality. It is estimated that approximately 430,000 Australians live with dementia costing an estimated $15 billion dollars annually. These figures are projected to increase drastically over the coming years, due to our aging population. The predominant strategy to treat Alzheimer’s disease has focused on removal of amyloid plaques in the brain. Over the past 30 years, pharmaceutical companies have poured billions of dollars into treatments that clear the brain of plaques, in the hope that it would stop the damage that is driving memory loss. Despite this, no drugs have succeeded in stopping or reversing dementia, and the few Alzheimer’s disease treatments that have been approved, only ease symptoms rather than altering the course of the disease. We recently developed a new treatment and have generated exciting preliminary data to show that we can successfully remove toxic amyloid without the negative consequences that have plagued drug trials. We now propose to test the ability of our innovative treatment to lower amyloid burden and arrest cognitive decline in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease.
Michael Parker is Head of Structural Biology at St. Vincent's Institute of Medical Research, a National Health and Medical Research Council Investigator Fellow of the Department of Biochemistry and Pharmacology, The University of Melbourne, and Director of the Bio21 Institute, The University of Melbourne