Researchers are attempting to convince the body's defences to attack the amyloid plaques of Alzheimer's disease (AD): "by stimulating a brain cell called a microglia the cells will partially engulf the senile plaques ... [this is] the first time that this phenomenon, believed to take place in living brain, has been duplicated in the laboratory. ... the plaques themselves are not sufficient microglial activators. But when the microglia were treated with inflammatory stimulants, they attacked the plaques. ... In AD patients, microglia are not coping with the plaque build-up. Therefore plaques accumulate faster than the microglia can digest them. If we can enhance microglial digestion of these plaques, we will have a fighting chance to eliminate AD ... The next step is to find a therapeutic drug that will stimulate the microglia to devour the plaques." Time will tell whether new methods of removing amyloid prove to be as futile as the one method demonstrated to date.