Researchers from the UK are on the cusp of preventing or treating Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive neurologic disorder. Here’s all you need to know about the vaccine therapy for Alzheimer’s.
What is the disease and how does it affect us?
Alzheimer’s is one of the most common neurologic diseases. It is also the most common reason (60-70 percent) for dementia, the loss of memory. According to Alzheimer’s Association, about 6.2 million people are suffering from the disease. The disease is caused by the abnormal building up of proteins in and around brain cells. Amyloid and tau are two such proteins. Amyloid deposits form plaques whereas tau tangles in the brain cells.
While treatment can help patients in living a better quality of life, the condition is not curable. However, scientists from the University of Leicester in the UK revealed that they have a new transformative treatment for the disease. The vaccine is showing the potential of entering human clinical trials in the next two years.
What is the vaccine therapy for Alzheimer’s?
According to scientists, vaccine therapy aids in preventing the disease by stopping its root cause. It targets the formation and building up of the proteins in the brain. They identified an antibody, called TAP01-04 which helps in preventing the diseases by binding to the toxic form of amyloid-beta. Hence, preventing the toxic protein from clumping and forming plaques. “While the science is currently still at an early stage, if these results were to be replicated in human clinical trials, then it could be transformative,” said Professor Mark from the University of Leicester.
They are now working on a vaccine that can trigger the human body to generate antibodies. In trials on mice with Alzheimer’s, the antibody helped in restoring the function of brain cells. It also showed the improvement of memory due to low plaque formation. “It opens up the possibility to not only treat Alzheimer’s once symptoms are detected. But also to potentially vaccinate against the disease before symptoms appear,” added Carr. The new vaccine therapy for Alzheimer’s is going to be accessible to more as it will cost about $6 per dose.