We Could be Getting Closer to Creating an Alzheimer’s Vaccine
It's estimated that the number of cases of Alzheimer's will reach 135 million worldwide by 2050. While this may be daunting, there is hope for the future. Scientists are getting closer and closer to developing a vaccine that can help to delay or prevent the onset of Alzheimer's.
One of the major challenges of science is slowing down the advancement and the number instances of Alzheimer’s. As we all know, few diseases can be so frustrating and sad for both patients and their families.
There are more and more discoveries and developments in vaccines against this disease, but the number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s continues to increase every day.
In fact, it’s estimated that the number of cases of Alzheimer’s will reach 135 million worldwide by 2050. This data, however, doesn’t mean that the disease is now more serious than before.
It just means life expectancy has increased, and that simply approaching your 80’s makes the prevalence of Alzheimer’s more widespread.
All this undoubtedly raises the need to continue fighting and investing funds in research against this disease.
In July 2016, a promising and well-researched study was published in various media outlets.
Flinders University, located in Australia, and the Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of California (USA) have developed a vaccine that could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
We’ll tell you all about it below.
The long-awaited Alzheimer’s vaccine
According to a paper published in the journal Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy, around 99% of clinical trials to delay or prevent Alzheimer’s have failed.
In 2010, the United States already patented the first vaccine for this disease. However, it turned out to be a failure because the side effects were serious.
This vaccine was called AN1792 and even got approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, after further analysis, the FDA invalidated the drug and suspended the project.
Despite this setback, the progress of developing a vaccine for Alzheimer’s has been very positive since 2010.
The first experimental vaccine: the EuroEspes
The EB101, which is part of the EuroEspes, opened after AN1792 failed. This medical center, based in Galicia (Spain), managed to take a step beyond the AN1792 vaccine and eliminated many of its side effects.
The main achievements of this vaccine are the following:
- It acts as an immunogen-adjuvant. It’s capable of generating antibodies against the plaques created by the beta-amyloid protein and which, little by little, favor the appearance of Alzheimer’s.
- Likewise, the EB101 vaccine prevents cases of meningoencephalitis or cerebral hemorrhages caused by AN1792.
However, this vaccine is still at in its experimental stages and there is no date yet for its patent application or its entry into the market.
The vaccine that reverses neurodegenerative diseases
As we said, Flinders University and the Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of California are the latest to take the step toward creating the definitive vaccine.
- This drug is an astonishing and truly hopeful advance in the fight against Alzheimer’s. It could prevent and even reverse several neurodegenerative diseases.
- In addition to preventing or slowing down Alzheimer’s, this vaccine could help us prevent diseases such as Parkinson’s.
- It could also prevent Kuru, which a neurodegenerative infectious disease caused by abnormally folded prion proteins, and Huntington’s disease.
The scientists working on this project would achieve this by combining two treatments:
A first vaccine would act on the beta-amyloid protein.
The second drug would work on tau proteins. There are studies that claim that when these proteins don’t work, cells cannot flush out their “waste.” Due to this, another protein, beta-amyloid, tends to accumulate, which has harmful consequences. Little by little, it causes cells to die.
The vaccine will be ready in three years
Nikolai Petrovsky is the endocrinologist who is leading this project. The idea is to have the vaccine ready to go on the market in two or three years.
The results of the experiments done so far are all positive. However, there are still goals to be met.
These would be:
- Reversing Alzheimer’s disease when the person has just received their diagnosis (the vaccine is still not effective in the very advanced stages of this condition).
- People aged 50 and over who don’t present any symptoms of Alzheimer’s can also use this vaccine. This will help to prevent the appearance of these neurodegenerative diseases.
- In essence, the goal above all is to avoid the onset of different types of dementia when they haven’t appeared yet or when they are in their early stages.
It would, therefore, be a future bright light in reducing the incidences of Alzheimer’s in the generations of tomorrow.
Unfortunately, our relatives or acquaintances who are already affected by these diseases will continue to wait for a cure.
Our only goal in these cases will continue to be to offer the maximum quality of life, immense affection, dignity and the help of the best specialists.