Questioning the status quo and unlocking the impossible.
At Alector, we are on a mission to slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases and to one day prevent their occurrence.
There are currently over 50 million people with neurodegeneration worldwide, with over 10 million new cases diagnosed each year. We envision a world where each individual retains his or her full brain function and cognitive faculties throughout life—a world where dementia and neurodegeneration are illnesses of the past.
We are pioneering the discovery and development of new therapeutic treatments for neurodegenerative disease based on our insights into human genetics, immunology, and neuroscience. The result so far: an industry-leading portfolio of immuno-neurology programs designed to empower the brain’s immune system to fight disease.
Since the early 20th century, the root cause of neurodegeneration has been considered to be misfolded proteins. Other pathologies that typify neurodegeneration, including the dysfunction and destruction of neuronal connections, the accelerated death of nerve cells, and the dysfunction of the brain support cells, were thought to be consequences of these misfolded proteins.
We are challenging this widely held belief. We are making the case that the multiple pathologies that typify neurodegeneration act independently of each other starting at early stages of disease, and therefore should be viewed as independent causes of a given disorder. With this understanding, we searched for an underlying biological process that these pathologies share. Discoveries on the genetic underpinning of neurodegeneration and on the functions of the brain immune system led our team to believe that these parallel pathologies are primarily caused by a dysfunctional brain immune system.
We are pioneering the discovery and development of new therapeutic treatments for neurodegenerative disease based on our insights into human genetics, immunology, and neuroscience.
Since most neurodegenerative diseases are diseases of aging, we hypothesized that the brain’s immune cells lose their competence with time and are no longer able to support normal brain function or to repair avoidable brain diseases. Aging immune cells may further exacerbate the disease by secreting toxic immune mediators and by indiscriminate scavenging. With this understanding, we have devoted our efforts to the development of novel therapeutics that harness the brain’s immune system to treat neurodegeneration. Along the way, we are making potentially important discoveries of new therapeutic approaches leveraging innate immunity that could help the body to change the course of conditions such as cancer.