In a promising step towards warding off dementia even before its onset, researchers have developed a new vaccine for the prevention of dementia that has shown positive results in mice. Researchers hope to conduct human trials in the future after the bigenic models showed success.
In a large population of people world over, age-related dementia is brought on by Alzheimer's Disease (AD). The research saw scientists from the Institute for Molecular Medicine and the University of California, Irvine (UCI) utilize a vaccine developed by Prof. Nikolai Petrovsky from Flinders University, to develop their own vaccine.
Targeting vital cogs in the AD machinery
Through the research, the scientists focused on developing a new treatment for the removal of accumulated beta-amyloid (Aβ) plaques and neurofibrillary masses made up of hyperphosphorylated tau. Aβ is an amino acid known for its connection to Alzheimer's disease, while hyperphosphorylated tau is a biochemical associated with cell death. Together, they lead to cognitive decline and neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's patients.
"Our approach is looking to cover all bases and get past previous roadblocks in finding a therapy to slow the accumulation of Aβ/tau molecules and delay AD progression in a rising number of people around the world," said Petrovsky.
A strategy of dual vaccination
The researchers tested on mice, the universal MultiTEP platform-based vaccines prepared using the adjuvant—an immunological or pharmacological agent that alters the effect of other agents such as antigens—developed by ProfessorPetrovsky's lab in Australia.
Talking about the strategy of combining two vaccination methods, Anahit Ghochikyan and Mathew Blurton-Jones, lead authors of the study said, "Taken together, these findings warrant further development of this dual vaccination strategy based on the MultiTEP technology for ultimate testing in human Alzheimer's disease."
What makes this study important?
Various drugs that were touted to be ideal candidates for the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's fell drastically short in clinical trials. The authors point towards a report that high doses of a human antibody known as aducanumab showed a decreased decline in clinical symptoms in patients afflicted with early AD.
However, the frequent need for administering the antibody in large concentrations through biologic therapy, made it unviable to treat healthy subjects. This is where the new study could serve as the basis for building upon, and developing better preventive measures such as vaccines to prevent dementia.