More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, a complex neurological disorder. Better understanding Alzheimer’s and risk factors for its development has become a national research priority in this country as the population ages.  

In the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, our specialists are engaged in several studies related to this devastating condition. Neuropathologist John Lee, MD, PhD and colleagues hold a patent on a drug compound that may block the production of amyloid beta (or abeta), the main enzyme that causes the amyloid plaques often seen in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Further research could yield promising new treatments to stop the progression of the disease.

Working with colleagues in NorthShore’s Brain Injury Research Institute, Dr. Lee is also exploring the link between traumatic brain injury such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and Alzheimer’s disease. CTE has gained notoriety in recent years with its connection to professional and amateur athletes who have suffered repetitive concussions in high impact sports such as football. At NorthShore, chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery Julian Bailes, MD, had conducted significant research into CTE that has made him the foremost expert in the field. Dr. Lee is contributing to this important work.

Dr. Lee’s other research interests include studying the potential relationship between Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.