It was the mid-1990’s and the lead scientists at Athena Neurosciences gave me the very first look at their work in Alzheimer’s. Research had discovered that an amyloid plaque, which might interfere with brain function, was common to all Alzheimer’s patients. Only humans displayed this plaque, leaving drug makers no reasonable non-human test bed for treatments they were developing. The company excitedly displayed a transgenic mouse that they had developed in which they were able to induce the same plaque problems. This new test bed, they claimed, was a revolutionary breakthrough and a possible solution to Alzheimer’s may be just around the corner. Over a decade later, we’re no closer to a cure. Amyloid palque has been questioned as a cause for Alzheimers and recent efforts don’t show any real sign of hope of an effective treatment.
by Robert Grove