By Lola Augustine Brown
Promising initial results from a Swedish study have shown that a vaccination for Alzheimer’s disease may not be too far in the future.
The vaccine works by stimulating production of antibodies that attack a protein known to contribute to the progression of Alzheimer’s. There are two different proteins linked to Alzheimer’s—beta-amyloid and tau proteins—which help deposits form in the brain that are thought to disrupt brain function. If that protein is attacked, those deposits cannot form.
This vaccine targets the tau proteins and was tested on 30 people aged 50 to 85 with light to moderate Alzheimer’s. An impressive 29 out of the 30 research subjects showed a favorable immune response—that is, the vaccine did exactly what it was designed to do—with no serious side effects. The results were published in the most recent edition of The Lancet Neurology.
According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, 564,000 Canadians live with dementia, with Alzheimer’s being a major cause of the condition.