The Challenge of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease can be particularly difficult to diagnose and treat. The scientists at Scripps Research accept that challenge.

Our tools: state-of-the-art imaging, cell biology and pharmacology.

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By unraveling the complexities of the brain and nervous system, we can create novel therapies.

What if you couldn’t carry on a conversation, remember the day of the week or recognize the face of your adult child? For people with Alzheimer’s disease, these are very real concerns. Alzheimer’s, the most common cause of dementia among people aged 65 or older, often leads to severe problems in thought, memory and behavior. Although damaging clumps of proteins in neurons called amyloid plaques are a hallmark of the disease, the deep complexities of the illness mean that no medicines currently exist to slow its progression. At Scripps Research, our strategy is to dig beyond the symptoms of Alzheimer’s to decipher its molecular origins. Our goal: to identify biological targets for effective therapies.

With the latest understanding of cellular machinery, for example, our researchers are pioneering creative ways to model Alzheimer’s disease in the lab. Currently, they are developing approaches that could actually regenerate healthy brain cells for potential use in patients. In support of this breakthrough work, teams of chemists here are using newly identified molecules to prevent the aggregation of dangerous protein plaques.

This is a challenging project, but every day, scientists at Scripps Research are adding new layers of information to our understanding of Alzheimer’s. By combining fundamental biomedical research with computational tools and clinical sampling, we are dedicating our efforts to the early detection and reversal of this and other neurodegenerative diseases, thus allowing the ones we care about to live long lives with healthy minds.

Alzheimers Disease Feature

Working to Clear the Mind

  • Visualize Health, Identify Disease

    Our state-of-the-art imaging technology lets us detect early abnormalities in brain cell architecture linked with Alzheimer’s.

  • Connect the Dots

    When we uncovered the cellular machinery that prunes or retains neural connections, we shed light on memory loss.

  • Restore Metabolism, Protect Neurons

    We have identified—and are advancing—compounds that protect nerves by restoring healthy metabolism to cells.

  • Cellular Clean-up

    Scripps Research scientists are also developing compounds that help clear toxic, misfolded proteins from the brain.

At Scripps Research, we work to extend human healthspan, lengthening the period of time in which a person stays healthy and active.

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