Animal Models of Neurodegenerative Disease: Recent Advances in Fly Highlight Innovative Approaches to Drug Discovery

Judith A. Tello, Haley E. Williams, Robert M. Eppler, Michelle L. Steinhilb, May Khanna

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Neurodegenerative diseases represent a formidable challenge to global health. As advances in other areas of medicine grant healthy living into later decades of life, aging diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other neurodegenerative disorders can diminish the quality of these additional years, owed largely to the lack of efficacious treatments and the absence of durable cures. Alzheimer's disease prevalence is predicted to more than double in the next 30 years, affecting nearly 15 million Americans, with AD-associated costs exceeding $1 billion by 2050. Delaying onset of AD and other neurodegenerative diseases is critical to improving the quality of life for patients and reducing the burden of disease on caregivers and healthcare systems. Significant progress has been made to model disease pathogenesis and identify points of therapeutic intervention. While some researchers have contributed to our understanding of the proteins and pathways that drive biological dysfunction in disease using in vitro and in vivo models, others have provided mathematical, biophysical, and computational technologies to identify potential therapeutic compounds using in silico modeling. The most exciting phase of the drug discovery process is now: by applying a target-directed approach that leverages the strengths of multiple techniques and validates lead hits using Drosophila as an animal model of disease, we are on the fast-track to identifying novel therapeutics to restore health to those impacted by neurodegenerative disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number883358
JournalFrontiers in Molecular Neuroscience
StatePublished - Apr 19 2022


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Drosophila
  • animal models
  • cell culture models
  • drug discovery
  • neurodegenerative diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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