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New research has developed a vaccine designed to prevent the neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer’s disease, and researchers hope this will be the "breakthrough of the decade," according to ABC News Australia. The researchers believe that this treatment is now ready for human trials.
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Removing toxic proteins
The vaccine is created to produce antibodies that both prevent and remove amyloid and tau proteins in the brain, the accumulation of which is believed to be the main cause of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease.
Many previously failed Alzheimer’s treatments have focused either on amyloid or tau protein reductions, but never both. However, research increasingly suggests it is a synergic relationship between the two toxic proteins that may be responsible for neurodegeneration.
The novel vaccine is actually a combination of two vaccines. AV-1959R targets amyloid aggregations, and AV-1980R targets the tau protein ones.
Both preventative and curative
Nikolai Petrovsky, a scientist from Australia’s Flinders University and one of the team's researchers, told ABC News Australia the new treatment could be both preventative and curative.
"It's actually designed to be both a prophylactic and a therapeutic," he said.
"In the animal models, we can both use it to prevent the development of memory loss by giving it before the animal starts to get these build-ups of proteins. But we can also show that even when we give it after the animals have proteins, we can actually get rid of the abnormal proteins," added the researcher.
Now, Petrovsky hopes human trials can start in the next 18-to-24 months. "It's an exciting time to be starting the new decade — hopefully this is the breakthrough of the next decade if we can get it to work in the human trials," he said.
The research is being led and funded by the Institute for Molecular Medicine and the University of California, in the US. And we can only hope it ends up being a total success.