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Protein Folding Disorders

Protein folding dysfunctions like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases present intractable medical challenges: drug treatments are, at best, palliative, failing to alter ultimate disease course. Effective intervention will require a deeper understanding of protein folding and its regulation, particularly in view of a sixfold rise in the inflation-adjusted cost of bringing drugs to market since 1950. As a consequence, the pharmaceutical industry has sharply curtailed research on a range of poorly-understood afflictions, including Alzheimer's Disease. That is, in all likelihood, there will not be effective drugs for many protein folding disorders anytime soon, and, if produced, the costs will be prohibitive. Here we follow protein folding and its failure from the cellular to social levels of organization, finding a strong foundation for effective public health interventions against the early onset of disease.
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