Alzheimer's disease vaccine soon available?
Alzheimer's disease affects many older people around the world. Unfortunately, there is still no cure for Alzheimer's disease. Will this change in the near future thanks to the latest research in this field? Researchers have announced that they have taken great strides to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease and have developed a vaccine that removes clumps of tau protein in the brain.
The current University of New Mexico (UNM) study has now developed a vaccine against virus-like particles that eliminates the buildup of tau protein. The results were published in the English magazine "NPJ Vaccines".
About one in three elderly people worldwide have Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease is an estimated progressive memory disorder in about one in three elderly people worldwide, giving a total of about 43 million people. It is believed that the disease is caused by a slow destruction of brain cells associated with a protein called tau. In particular, neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), accumulations of saturated tau proteins, are a primary marker of Alzheimer's disease.
How does the vaccine work?
Researchers have now developed a vaccine with virus-like particles. This is able to eliminate the accumulations of tau in mice that have been specially created to develop symptoms similar to those of human patients with Alzheimer's. "We are satisfied with these results because they seem to indicate that the body's immune system can be used to produce antibodies to existing deposits. These antibodies actually bind and eliminate the tau bundles," said study author Nicole Maphis of the University of New Mexico, in a press release.
Vaccine works on mice
When the vaccine was given to mice, they developed antibodies to remove tau protein from their brains. The so-called tau-removing antibodies persisted for months in the brains of mice. The treated mice performed better on labyrinthine tests, exhibiting less brain shrinkage and less entanglement in both the cortex and the hippocampus (areas of the brain normally destroyed by Alzheimer's disease) during an MRI. "These results confirm that targeted treatment of tau bundles with a vaccine can help eliminate memory disorders and prevent the death of neurons," Maphis explains.
More research on humans is needed
While the process has just been successfully tested in mice, researchers are already seeking funding to market the vaccine in order to further develop it and test it on humans as well. Pharmaceutical research indicates that curing Alzheimer's disease may not be so far away. Alzheimer's disease is a devastating and deadly disease, with daily increases in the number of people affected. Therefore, an effective remedy is urgently needed.
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