Researchers believe they are a few steps closer to a new vaccine for dementia; however, there is still a long way to go.
The new experimental dementia vaccine has been undergoing trials in mice. The researchers hope that they will soon conduct human trials in the coming years.
Worldwide, it is estimated that more than 50 million people are affected by dementia. In fact, some researchers reckon that dementia could double by the year 2060 in the United States.
One of the most common forms of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, is characterized by the accumulation of a protein called beta-amyloid and tau in the brain, causing cognitive decline and neurodegeneration. Unfortunately, dementia is incurable and treatment options are limited.
The researchers explained that experimental drugs have failed to treat dementia is because treatment is “initiated too late in the pathological process.” Once the disease is full-blown, it becomes difficult to treat and bring back the brain to its healthy state.
The study, published in the journal Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy, has been focusing on developing vaccines in order to prevent the condition in the first place.
Previous studies in mice have found that two experimental dementia vaccines, called AV-1959R and AV-1980R, produced an antibody response to two proteins – beta-amyloid and tau – respectively. This helped in preventing plaque and tangle formation in the brain.
The researchers wrote, “Taken together, these findings warrant further development of this vaccine technology for ultimate testing in human [Alzheimer’s disease].” Since the researchers found that a combination of these vaccines was effective and safe in humans, they believe they can take this to the next level and conducted trials on humans within a couple of years.