A vaccine that has been proven to be effective in mice could help stop ALZHEIMER’S.
British researchers used an approach to tackling the memory-wiping disease that’s never been tried before.
They are “hugely excited” by the findings and the potential of a vaccine costing just £15 per dose to make, the Daily Mail reports.
Experts believe that although the new treatment for dementia is still in the future, it may be possible if it’s proven effective in humans. “transformative”.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. It is believed to be caused in part by abnormally high levels of proteins around brain cells.
Amyloid is one of these proteins.
Amyloid can be described as string-like, flexible molecules. In Alzheimer’s, a high number of these molecules become shortened and join together to form plaques around brain cells, killing them.
Scientists believe that the solution to this problem is to make something that sticks to the shorter molecules and prevents them from clumping together.
Researchers from the University of Leicester discovered an antibody called TAP01-04 that binds to amyloid’s shorter toxic form.
Professor Thomas Bayer, from University Medical Centre Gottingen in Germany, said: “In clinical trials, none of the potential treatments which dissolve amyloid plaques in the brain have shown much success in terms of reducing Alzheimer’s symptoms.
“Some have even shown negative side effects. We chose a new approach.
“We identified an antibody in mice that would neutralise the truncated forms of soluble amyloid beta, but would not bind either to normal forms of the protein or to the plaques.”
TAPAS, also known as the jab, tells your body to produce TAP01-04 antibody.
It was tested in two different mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease, with the findings published in Molecular Psychiatry.
Mice who received this “vaccine”TAP01-04 antibodies were produced that restored neuron function and reduced amyloid plaque formation.
Dr Preeti Bakrania, of medical research charity LifeArc, said: “This makes them really promising as a potential treatment for the disease either as a therapeutic antibody or a vaccine.
“The results so far are very exciting and testament to the scientific expertise of the team.
“If the treatment does prove successful, it could transform the lives of many patients.”
Prof Carr added: “While the science is currently still at an early stage, if these results were to be replicated in human clinical trials, then it could be transformative.
“It opens up the possibility to not only treat Alzheimer’s once symptoms are detected, but also to potentially vaccinate against the disease before symptoms appear.”
Researchers are now seeking a commercial partner for clinical trials of the therapeutic antibody as well as the vaccine.
Dr Susan Kohlhaas, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said while the discovery offers hope, the jab is “a long way off being proved successful in humans”.
She added: “Currently there is no disease-modifying treatment available for people with Alzheimer’s in the UK, making drug development even more urgent.
“Scientists found a vaccine administered through injection found the intended target and helped improve metabolism in brain regions associated with memory and thinking.
“Early results in a behavioural task suggest the mice had improved memory and thinking, hinting that this could be a promising new approach, and one that has so far not been tested in Alzheimer’s drugs in clinical trials.”
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