It’s an ultimate goal and is something which is talked about often, but with so much research happening, are we any closer to developing a vaccine to prevent Alzheimer’s disease?
Short answer – no not really, but there is some new research worth highlighting.
UK dermatological researchers based at the University of Dundee and Oxford recently developed a new vaccine for the purposes of treating skin diseases (such as psoriasis) and a specific type of cat allergy. The vaccine worked. In a mouse trial, they could treat symptoms associated with the skin disease and cat allergy.
However, the results don’t stop there.
The vaccine also raised antibodies against amyloid beta proteins, leading the researchers to suggest it could be beneficial in preventing or even treating Alzheimer’s disease.
It is suggested that when amyloid beta proteins clump together in the brain, they cause the death of brain cells and are a major cause of Alzheimer’s disease.
The results from this mouse trial, published in the journal Nature Vaccine, found that when older mice were given regular injections of the trial vaccine, they were able to produce significant amounts of antibodies against amyloid beta, potentially reducing the impact of neurodegeneration.
We’ve heard this type of result before, so how is this different to previous trials?
Previous unsuccessful human clinical trials saw participants injected directly with antibodies against amyloid beta. This type of technique was found to be less effective, if at all, particularly as it required frequent antibody injections for positive results to be seen.
This new research suggests that trying to get your own body to raise antibodies against amyloid beta through a vaccine could provide a way of preventing the disease and avoiding neurodegeneration.
This hypothesis, of course, needs validation, and the researchers are now looking to begin clinical testing of the vaccine and have received regulatory approval to run human trials.
While the vaccine wasn’t developed for the specific purpose of preventing Alzheimer’s disease, they plan to consider this further.
Read the original research paper here.