A vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease could possibly be tested in human beings in next 3-5 years, after investigators from the United States and Australia have discovered a formulation that they say effectively targets brain proteins that perform a role in development and progression of the Alzheimer’s disease.
Study co-author Prof. Nikolai Petrovsky and colleagues expose how a vaccine combination produces antibodies that focus on beta-amyloid and tau proteins in the brain – both of which are regarded hallmarks of this disease.
Beta-amyloid is recognized to build up in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s, developing plaques, while the tau protein forms tangles. Plaques and tangles are considered to affect signaling between nerve cells and lead to nerve cell death.
Co-author Prof. Nikolai Petrovsky said,
“The proteins are a bit like the car in your driveway”. “You have to take out them from the brain or else if you left broken down cars in your drive-way gradually you couldn’t get out.”
“Basically that’s what takes place in individuals who get Alzheimer’s or dementia is they have plenty of these broken down proteins in the brain.”
Presenting in the journal Scientific Reports, the study team explains how the vaccine formulation has confirmed safe and effective in mouse models of Alzheimer’s, and it has also efficiently targeted beta-amyloid and tau proteins in human brain tissue.
Vaccine combination increases antibody response to Alzheimer’s proteins
Investigators have spent years looking for ways to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s, but good results have been limited.
In between 2002-2012, 413 clinical studies were performed globally that evaluated the safety and efficacy of 244 substances against Alzheimer’s. Just one new drug came out of these studies – representing a 0.4 % success rate – and this drug only causes short-term relief of Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Due to such poor results from clinical studies to date, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) enhanced their financing for Alzheimer’s study by $350 million, providing the total financing for study in the U.S. to $1.3 billion this year.
With respect to Prof. Petrovsky and colleagues, such financing has led to the growth of their “exceptional” vaccine, which they say is composed of a MultiTEP vaccine platform and Advax.
The team describes that the MultiTEP strategy delivers high antibody responses to beta-amyloid and tau proteins either independently or combined, while Advax is an adjuvant vaccine that additionally boosts the antibody response.
In their research, the investigators identified that the formulation was effective and well accepted in Alzheimer’s mouse models, with no reports of adverse reactions. The vaccine was also capable to target the proteins in brain tissue from sufferers with Alzheimer’s.
Study co-author Prof. Michael Agadjanyan states that,
“This study indicates that we can immunize sufferers at the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, or even healthy individuals at risk for AD, using our anti-amyloid-beta vaccine, and, if the disease advances, then vaccinate with one more anti-tau vaccine to enhance effectiveness.”