disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease
characterized by neuronal loss and brain lesions.
The disease is also characterized by profound impairment
of memory. The scale of the problem is increasing
as the elderly segment of the population continues
to grow. There are 4 million people with Alzheimer's
disease in the U.S. today (Ref: Alzheimer's Association).
To date only two compounds have been approved for
the treatment of Alzheimer's disease in the U.S. These
are the cholinesterase inhibitors Cognex®
(tacrine) and Aricept®
(donepexil), both of which prevent the breakdown of
acetylcholine, a chemical important in memory. Neither
compound or indeed the other agents that target specific
neurotransmitter systems offer a long-term solution
to Alzheimer's disease and will be displaced, as more
effective treatments become available.