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Current and emerging therapeutic targets of alzheimer's disease for the design of multi-target directed ligands.

Blaikie, Laura; Kay, Graeme; Kong Thoo Lin, Paul



Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most prevalent neurodegenerative disease, and a major cause of death worldwide. The number of people suffering from this debilitating disorder is rising at an unprecedented rate, with a subsequent surge in healthcare costs. Only four drugs are clinically available for the treatment of AD symptoms, but they are not disease-modifying. Consequently, there is an urgent need for a cure. Although the cause of this debilitating condition remains poorly understood, it is believed that several factors may be involved in combination – including, health and lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors. In recent years, a number of hallmarks of the disease have also been discovered, and it is believed that these factors may play an important role in the development of AD. Amyloid aggregation is one such factor which has been highly investigated, in addition to cholinesterase enzymes and tau aggregation. In the last decade, multi-target drugs have been increasingly investigated for their application to AD treatment. By combining two or more pharmacophores in a single compound, it is possible to synthesise a drug which can target several factors that are involved in AD development. This is a particularly attractive approach as it would avoid the use of combination therapies. As a result, it could reduce the burden on carers and families, and decrease healthcare and social care costs. Many active pharmacophores have been employed for the development of hybrid drugs, due to their abilities to inhibit the factors currently widely recognised to be involved in AD. These compounds have demonstrated promising results; however, research is still required to optimise the pharmacological profiles of the drugs, in addition to their potencies. Meanwhile, extensive research is continuously being performed into other potential targets for the treatment of AD. Based on the results obtained thus far, it is likely that multi-target compounds will continue to be increasingly studied in the future as potential treatments for AD.


BLAIKIE, L., KAY, G. and KONG THOO LIN, P. 2019. Current and emerging therapeutic targets of alzheimer's disease for the design of multi-target directed ligands. MedChemComm [online], 10(12), pages 2052-2072. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 14, 2019
Online Publication Date Oct 16, 2019
Publication Date Dec 1, 2019
Deposit Date Oct 28, 2019
Publicly Available Date Oct 17, 2020
Journal MedChemComm
Print ISSN 2040-2503
Electronic ISSN 2040-2511
Publisher Royal Society of Chemistry
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 12
Pages 2052-2072
Keywords Alzheimer's disease; Multi-target drugs; Hybrid compounds; Inhibitory activity
Public URL


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