Understanding Alzheimer's Disease

When it comes to finding a cure to Alzheimer's disease, doctors say we are still a long ways to go, but are making progress.

Jim Ray, Ph.D., director of Neuroscience at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, addressed Dallas residents on the short- and long-term goals of the Neurodegeneration Consortium (NDC), established through a $25 million donation to MD Anderson to better understand the underlying biology of the disease and translate this knowledge into therapeutic interventions. 

The goal is to effectively alleviate symptoms by delaying, reversing and/or eliminating the pathology of the disease. 

The NDC’s multidisciplinary team have found a new generation of drugs which are in the late stages of development for clinical trials. 

Ray says researchers have learned a lot about Alzheimer's, but it hasn't led to medicines that can stop the disease.

Most recently, it was discovered that Alzheimer's starts 15 years before you see the first symptom.

"This is maybe one reason why we have had so many failures in the last decade, because we didn't understand that before. We were trying to treat the disease once you had the symptoms. If you want to stop it,  you need to start much earlier,"Ray said.

Scientists can now detect the disease much earlier than before, but that process is still in the research phase.

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