Targeting tau – chasing a treatment for Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease remains one of the largest challenges for the global ageing population. In this article, Victoria Rees, Editor of Drug Target Review, reviews some of the latest research, highlighting how progress has been made in understanding tau as well as how to potentially target this protein as a therapeutic strategy against Alzheimer’s.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 55 million people currently live with dementia globally, with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common form, potentially contributing up to 70 percent of cases.1 Scientists around the world are focused on finding a cure for this condition, with the tau protein featuring in many studies.

Normally, the tau protein helps to stabilise the microtubule structure in the brain, which is involved in the transport of nutrients and other important substances.2 However, in Alzheimer’s, the tau protein misfolds and becomes abnormally shaped. When this happens, the microtubule structure is compromised, leading to tau tangles in the brain. This then impacts a person’s ability to think and remember, one of the key symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Consequently, tau is one of the main targets for this disease and finding new ways to target this protein could aid in the development of new Alzheimer’s treatments.