Can a vaccine beat Alzheimer’s? Scientists have found that a jab could reverse the effects of dementia in mice, giving hope for patients.

  • Scientists are excited about developing a vaccine that reverses dementia
  • University of Leicester researchers developed a “transformative” drug 
  • The therapy only costs £15 for a single dose and could prevent the disease

Scientists working to develop a vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease claim they’re ‘hugely thrilled’ at the results of mice showing that it reverses dementia.

Researchers at the University of Leicester have come up with a ‘transformative’ treatment that could stop the progression of the disease – or even prevent it.

The pioneering therapy, costing only £15 a dose, works by preventing the formation of harmful deposits of protein in the brain linked to memory loss. The disease affects approximately 850,000 people in Britain. Experts believe the vaccine will be available for clinical trials within the next two years.

Scientists are 'hugely excited' about a vaccine that may reverse dementia. The disease affects about 850,000 people in the UK and is currently incurable

Scientists are “hugely excited” about the possibility of a vaccine to reverse dementia. About 850,000 suffer from the disease in the UK. It’s currently incurable.

Alzheimer’s disease can be caused by amyloid beta, a naturally occurring protein that clumps together and forms plaques in your brain.

This happens when amyloid beta molecules get shortened. Then they join to form clusters which can cause brain damage.

But scientists have identified an antibody – called TAP01-04 – which binds to the shortened toxic form of amyloid beta, preventing the molecules clumping together to form plaques.

This is the foundation of the new promising therapy. The antibody was tested on mice suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. It showed a decrease in plaque formation, which improved memory.

Scientists are developing a vaccine that triggers TAP01-04 antibodies in the body. This could be available soon to those at highest risk for Alzheimer’s.

Co-author Professor Thomas Bayer, from the University Medical Centre Gottingen in Germany, said: ‘In clinical trials, none of the potential treatments which dissolve amyloid plaques in the brain have shown much success in terms of reducing Alzheimer’s symptoms

Thomas Bayer (German University Medical Centre Gottingen) was co-author.

According to the team, their revolutionary method shows that Alzheimer’s can be avoided in its earliest stages rather than treating existing plaques. 

Professor Mark Carr of the University of Leicester stated that although the science at the moment is still in an early stage of development, the potential for transformative results could arise if they were replicated in clinical trials with humans.

It allows for the treatment of Alzheimer’s after symptoms become apparent, as well as the potential to vaccine against the disease. 

Thomas Bayer from University Medical Centre Gottingen, Germany was co-author. He stated that none of the possible treatments to dissolve amyloid plaques have been shown to reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms in clinical trials.

Some have shown even negative side effects. Our team decided to take a different approach. The antibody we discovered in mice would neutralize the truncated forms soluble amyloid beta but not the normal proteins or plaques.

In partnership with LifeArc medical research charity, the study was completed. Researchers published their findings in the journal Molecular Psychiatry last night. They are now looking for a commercial partner who will allow them to use the vaccine and therapeutic antibody through clinical trials.