Alzheimer’s Award funded by Rex Banks Estate
Development of Novel Disease-Modifying Drugs for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Dr Benjamin Ross
University of Queensland
Our research group is interested in the chemical biology of neurodegenerative diseases, especially the discovery of drugs and drug targets for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). AD is the most common neurodegenerative disorder and the most prevalent cause of dementia in the elderly. The increase in life expectancy means that by the year 2025 it is estimated that 22 million people worldwide will develop AD. The drugs currently used for AD therapy are symptomatic treatments that afford cognitive benefit only for the first several months of treatment. There is an urgent need for disease-modifying drugs that target the mechanism of AD and prevent disease progression.
Aggregation of beta-amyloid is a key event in AD pathophysiology and increased levels of free radicals are a major factor in the cytotoxic processes that underlie the disease. We are developing a novel dual-action drug that both prevents brain damage from toxic free radicals and binds the beta-amyloid peptide preventing fibrillisation and deposition of amyloid. Funding from the Brain Foundation enables us to synthesise a series drug candidates and to determine the ability of the candidates to inhibit the aggregation of beta-amyloid and trap free radicals in vitro. A dual-action drug may become a valuable disease-modifying treatment for AD.