Alzheimer’s vaccine could be a reality in five years

Though Alzheimer’s has long not had a cure or a preventative solution, new research suggests that one may be closer to becoming a reality than ever before.

A study published in Scientific Report in July suggests that a vaccine for the condition could be created in about five years. A team of researchers from Flinders University in Australia, the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Laguna Beach, California, and the University of California, Irvine, suggest in the study that it could become as common as the flu shot.

The vaccine would address two proteins, amyloid-beta (a-beta) and tau, that buildup and blocks brain nerve cells. They obstruct connections between brain nerve cells once they die and become plaques.

To decrease protein buildup, the vaccine would trigger the immune system to produce antibodies that would clear the proteins. In studies done on female mice, the antibodies work best before the disease has formed, but they also have the ability to reverse the buildup once the disease has already began. The vaccine is still not ready to be tested on humans, but the researchers said in the study they will be fast-tracking the development of it so that they can get human results sooner.

“Optimal AD vaccine formulation, adjuvant selection and targeting of the right epitopes at the appropriate stage of disease will be crucial to a successful immunotherapeutic approach,” the researchers wrote in the study.

Going forward, researchers will try to ensure that the vaccine is strong enough to make a difference in patients susceptible to developing Alzheimer’s.