Alzheimer’s can be one of the cruelest diseases we know of. It is a neurodegenerative disease that manifests itself through cognitive impairment and behavioral disorders. The number of sick continues to increase year after year, especially in Western countries. Stopping her has become a priority for researchers.
Recently, researchers at the University of California at Irvine have thrown up a hopeful piece of data: the Alzheimer’s vaccine could be ready for human application in as little as two years.
The researchers developed a treatment that successfully removed the accumulation of amyloid and tau proteins in the brains of genetically modified mice. These plaques are believed to be responsible for triggering neurodegeneration and, ultimately, the cognitive decline so characteristic of the disease. Scientists suggest that this vaccine could be ready for human testing in just two years, and if all goes well, it could become the medical breakthrough of the next decade .
Combination of treatments
The vaccine, developed by Nikolai Petrovsky, an endocrinologist at Flinders University in Australia, along with his team of scientists, has already carried out their experiments on rodents. They have combined two previous treatments, called AV-1959R and AV-1980R, respectively, designed to specifically reduce the amyloid and tau protein clumps. After many failures with previous clinical trials, this new line of research appears to be the most effective way to treat dementia.
The future vaccine would specifically target beta-amyloid proteins and tau proteins, which accumulate in large quantities in the brain of patients and are mainly responsible for Alzheimer’s disease . Recent studies indicate that the vaccine prevents the accumulation of these proteins and eliminates those that already exist in the brain of patients. Its progress shows that it could prevent and even reverse other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Kuru or Huntington’s disease.
“Essentially what happens in people who get Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is that they have a large amount of these proteins broken down in the brain,” Petrovsky explains. “This study suggests that we can vaccinate patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or even healthy people at risk, using our anti-beta-amyloid vaccine and, if the disease progresses, then vaccinate with another vaccine -tau to increase efficiency ”he clarifies.
In the words of the researchers “It is an exciting time to begin the new decade; hopefully this is the next decade’s breakthrough if we can make it work in human trials. ‘ Human trials could begin in the next 18 to 24 months.
The disease in the world
Alzheimer’s affects more than 40 million people in the world. In Spain, according to data from the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN), around 800,000 people currently suffer from it and it is also the most common type of neurodegenerative dementia.
Our country is one of the countries with the highest proportion of Alzheimer’s cases among people over 60 years old: 5% of people over 65 suffer from this disease and in people over 90 years old the percentage increases to 40%. The progressive aging of society does not help and it is expected that in the next twenty years the number of people affected by this disease will double .
Although age is the most important risk marker for developing the disease, other factors such as high blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, diabetes or having suffered head injuries also play a role.