Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disorder and its most recognizable symptom is dementia. It starts slowly and develops gradually: in the early stage, memory impairment regarding recent events is seen; then, other cognitive functions such as language and judgment are gradually impaired; finally, all functions of daily life are lost.
Its exact pathogenesis and causes are unknown. Atrophy is seen throughout the brain and abnormal aggregates of amyloid-beta and tau protein accumulate to form amyloid plaques and tau tangles, which damage normal brain cells and lead to a number of pathological phenomena.
In particular, once amyloid plaques or tau tangles begin to accumulate in the basal forebrain, which plays an important role in the memory function with concentrated neurons mediated by acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, symptoms such as hypomnesia and aggressive tendencies arise. While no way to treat the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease has been found so far, research is ongoing on the treatment of the disease by suppressing or mitigating the excessive formation of the abnormal substances.
With no currently available remedy specific to Alzheimer’s disease, prevalance and socioeconomic costs increase. Thus, marketability and potential are very high; it is expected that a disease-modifying drug with a new mode of action will be a blockbuster that leads the world market.