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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Amyloid - Those Deadly Fibrils

<p align="justify" class="feature">The term 'amyloid' was introduced in scientific literature in the mid-19th Century to describe macroscopic abnormalities in organs and tissues of patients afflicted with a variety of clinical syndromes. It took almost a century to realise that these amyloid deposits consisted of fibrillar ultrastructures when examined by electron microscopy (see Figure 1).
Subsequently, numerous studies followed which confirmed that deposits of diverse origin show a similar, fibrillar submicroscopic structure consisting of bundles of straight and rigid fibrils. Several amyloid disorders have since been discovered. Although diverse in etiology and pathogenesis, they all demonstrate this accumulation of large fibrillary protein aggregates which interfere with specificorgan functions.

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By Dr Francine Gervais, Vice-President of Research & Development at Neurochem Inc.

As Vice-President of Research and Development, Dr Francine Gervais oversees Neurochem's R&D programme, bringing compounds from discovery through to drug development. Francine came to Neurochem with 15 years' experience in amyloid-related research as an Associate Professor at McGill University. She has been involved in determining the mechanisms responsible for the resistance or susceptibility to disease, including amyloidosis, bacterial and viral infections. Over the years, she has interacted with internationally-renowned research groups on the study of the genetic control of the host response to inflammatory and infectious diseases. Francine holds a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Montréal. She began her career with Neurochem as a Consultant, and then joined the company on a full-time basis in June 1997.

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Dr Francine Gervais
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