Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of irreversible dementia and affects over 6 million Americans and 27 million people worldwide. Its prevalence is expected to rise to 1 in 85 people globally by 2050. The condition is progressive and fatal with death occurring about 8 years after diagnosis. It is the 6th leading cause of death in the US.

AD is generally diagnosed in people over 65 years of age though the less-prevalent early-onset form can affect individuals in their 40s or 50s. Early symptoms of AD include short-term memory problems such as difficulty remembering recent events or names, or difficulty in finding words. As the disease advances, symptoms can include confusion, mood swings, irritability and aggression, language deficits, and long-term memory loss. Sufferers in later stages depend on custodial care and often withdraw from family and society.

There are no available treatments that stop or reverse the progression of the disease. The current treatments for mild to moderate AD include acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs) and NMDA(N-methyl-d-aspartate) antagonists which provide modest symptomatic improvements. There is a major need for additional treatments that can provide further sustained symptomatic relief and new therapies that can address neurodegeneration and disease progression.

AD places an enormous burden on caregivers and on society. The impact includes social, psychological, physical, and economic consequences. In the US, the cost to care for AD totals over $100 billion and costs US businesses over $60B from lost productivity, absenteeism of primary caregivers and insurance costs.