SCEINCE

A new breakthrough took us one step closer to the Alzheimer’s vaccine

Scientists have made a potentially life-changing breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. A team of scientists from the United Kingdom and Germany has developed a new method that has the potential to help treat and even vaccinate against Alzheimer’s disease, press release reveals.

To be precise, the team developed a treatment based on antibodies and a protein vaccine that reduced Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice. The next crucial step will be to conduct human clinical trials.

A “different approach” to Alzheimer’s treatment

The team from the University of Leicester, the University Medical Center Göttingen and the research charity LifeArc published their findings in the journal Molecular psychiatry. The new treatment and vaccine focus on the “shortened” soluble form of amyloid beta protein, which is found in plaques in the brain and is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists believe that the soluble form is key to the development and progression of brain disease.

In clinical trials, none of the potential treatments that dissolve amyloid plaques in the brain have shown much success in reducing Alzheimer’s symptoms, “said Professor Thomas Bayer of Göttingen University Medical Center.” Some have even shown negative side effects.

“So we decided to take a different approach,” he continued. “We identified an antibody in mice that would neutralize truncated forms of soluble amyloid beta, but would not bind to either normal protein forms or plaques.”

Unseen protein structure in the shape of a hairpin

In testing a new “humanized” version of this antibody, called TAP01_04, the researchers found that it would bind to the abbreviated form of amyloid beta and form a previously unseen hairpin-shaped structure. This allowed the team to create a stable fragment of a specific region of the protein that could potentially be used to develop a vaccine that would trigger the immune system to produce antibodies of the TAP01_04 type.

The researchers tested the constructed protein in mice and found that the mice that received the protein produced the required antibody. Further tests showed that the treatment protein and “vaccine” helped restore nerve cell function, restore memory loss, and reduce the formation of amyloid beta plaque in mice.

The news comes just a week after a team of Japanese researchers discovered that the newly developed vaccine was able to kill HIV in monkeys, giving hope to 37.7 million people living with autoimmune disease. Although the science of new Alzheimer’s treatment is at an early stage, successful human trials could change our lives by improving our medical skills against Alzheimer’s disease, which the World Health Organization says is responsible for approximately 60-70 percent of all global cases of dementia.





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