A team of researchers from the United States and Australia has made a breakthrough in the creation of a vaccine that can target the abnormal beta-amyloid and tau proteins that are involved in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Each year, 7.5 million people develop Alzheimer’s and it is quickly becoming one of the biggest costs to healthcare systems worldwide. Despite ongoing research, scientists have yet to discover a cure for the disease. However, the recent findings published in Scientific Reports suggest that an effective vaccine might be on the horizon.
“If we are successful in pre-clinical trials, in three to five years we could be well on the way to one of the most important developments in recent medical history,” said Nikolai Petrovsky of the Flinders University School of Medicine and co-author of the study.
Petrovsky highlights the necessity of a vaccine by pointing to the increase in type 2 diabetes cases in the West, which fuels the rise in dementia, as well as our rapidly aging populations.
The team used a combination of anti-amyloid-beta and anti-tau vaccines and an adjuvant technology called Advax to create a vaccine that generates antibodies that effectively bind to the amyloid and tau molecules in brain tissue obtained from patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Thus far, the vaccine has not shown any negative effects on immune system response.
“This study suggests that we can immunize patients at the early stages of AD, or even healthy people at risk for AD, using our anti-amyloid-beta vaccine, and, if the disease progresses, then vaccinate with another anti-tau vaccine to increase effectiveness,” said Anahit Ghochikyan of the Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM) Department of Molecular Immunology and co-author of the study.
As of now, the team is working on non-clinical safety-toxicology studies to ensure that the vaccine meets government safety standards. After these pre-clinical studies are completed, they plan to move on to human trials.
Journal Reference: Alzheimer’s disease AdvaxCpG- adjuvanted MultiTEP-based dual and single vaccines induce high-titer antibodies against various forms of tau and Aβ pathological molecules. 22 June 2016. 10.1038/srep28912
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