Vaccine for Dementia and Alzheimer’s?

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A potential dementia vaccine should move into human trials within the next 18 to 24 months
A potential dementia vaccine should move into human trials within the next 18 to 24 months

A newly published study has described the successful results in mice of a novel vaccine designed to prevent neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers suggest this “dementia vaccine” is now ready for human trials, and if successful could become the “breakthrough of the next decade.”

The new study, led by the Institute for Molecular Medicine and University of California, Irvine, describes the effect of a vaccine designed to generate antibodies that both prevent, and remove, the aggregation of amyloid and tau proteins in the brain. The accumulation of these two proteins is thought to be the primary pathological cause of neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

The research revealed the vaccine led to significant decreases in both tau and amyloid accumulation in the brains of bigenic mice engineered to exhibit aggregations of these toxic proteins. Many prior failed Alzheimer’s treatments over the past few years have focused individually on either amyloid or tau protein reductions, but growing evidence suggests a synergistic relationship between the two toxic proteins may be driving neurodegeneration. Hence the hypothesis a combination therapy may be the most effective way to prevent this kind of dementia.

This new treatment combines two vaccines, dubbed AV-1959R and AV-1980R, which are designed to respectively target amyloid and tau protein aggregations. The vaccine is formulated in a novel adjuvant called Advax, developed by a team of Australian researchers to enhance vaccine immunogenicity.

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