A vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease could be just a few short years away according to researchers from Australia and the United States.
The initial trials have shown that the vaccine has the potential to slow or reverse the effects of the disease in patients with dementia, as well as prevent Alzheimer’s when given to healthy people.
According to a study published in Nature’s Scientific Reports journal, two proteins — amyloid-beta and amyloid-tau — present themselves in Alzheimer’s and dementia patients respectively.
It is thought both proteins could be targeted by the new vaccine.
“In particular, the same vaccine platform could be used to both prevent the onset of [Alzheimer’s disease] and also slow down development of tauopathy-associated dementia,” the study’s author writes.
The vaccine has been a joint project between a team from Flinder’s University in Australia, the University of California, and the Institute of Molecular Medicine.
According to Flinder’s University, roughly 7.5 million people are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease each year, with about 50 million dementia cases worldwide as at 2015.
The Alzheimer’s vaccine has proven successful in animal trials involving mice.
“We have demonstrated in mice genetically modified to get accelerated dementia that our vaccine cadidate produces antibodies, which bind to the proteins a-beta and tau,” Professor Nikolai Petrovsky of Flinder’s University told the International Business Times.
He says the success of the animal trials has led the team to secure funding that will help them progress towards human clinical trials within two years.
The trials are likely to focus on patients already suffering early onset Alzheimer’s disease to determine the effectiveness on slowing or reversing the effects of the disease.
In the last decade there have been more than 240 attempts to cure or prevent Alzheimer’s.