Ground-Breaking Alzheimer’s Vaccine Enters First Clinical Trial in Bath
A British research project is aiming to create a vaccine against one of the most pernicious and widespread ailments in the world: Alzheimer’s disease. As the illness is expected to afflict almost 14 million people by 2050, the possibility of a vaccine couldn’t have come at a better time.
A Vaccine for Alzheimer’s Disease
Researchers from the Royal United Hospital’s Research Institute for the Care of Older People (RICE) are currently testing a vaccine they believe might have the ability to stop the progression of the debilitating neurological disease. The vaccine is intended to attack the clumps of protein that interfere with the cognitive processes of people who are afflicted with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The RICE researchers are also working on developing a separate vaccine that targets amyloid plaque, another kind of protein that has the effect of impairing electrochemical communication between brain cells.
Changing How Alzheimer’s is Treated
Although the study of the vaccine’s effectiveness is still in its infancy, researchers are very optimistic about the potentially groundbreaking effect they could have on the future treatment of dementia-related mental health problems. If the Alzheimer’s vaccines being tested prove to be effective, doctors will not only have the ability to prevent the onset of the disease in healthy older adults but to also stop its progress among those who already been diagnosed. “This is a very important study,” said RICE director Professor Roy Jones. “It opens the way to a completely different and hopefully much more effective vaccine.”
A Reason to Hope
As of this writing, the RICE researchers are working with their counterparts from the universities of Bass and Bristol as well as scientists in Finland in order to gather together enough Alzheimer’s patients needed to complete the study. They are also seeking $1.4 million to fund the research program. As Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only cause of death that cannot be prevented, the possibility of the development of an Alzheimer’s vaccine should bring hope to millions of sufferers that their condition is not immutable.