Alzheimer’s is an epidemic in our world today, and the number of cases is expected to increase dramatically in the coming years. 5.7 million Americans suffer from the disease currently, and there may be double that number by 2050, according to the University of Texas. In an effort to keep that from happening, experts have been working on treatments and preventative methods for the disease for decades. And this time, they think they may actually have found the answer.
A team of researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center has concocted a vaccine they believe will prevent Alzheimer’s cases, effectively cutting the number of cases of dementia in half. So far, the vaccine has shown promise in animal testing, safely producing antibodies to guard against the buildup of unwanted amyloid and tau proteins in the brains of mice, rabbits, and monkeys. The researchers’ findings have been published in the journal Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy.
The team hopes their vaccine will soon be able to move on to human trials. And if it’s successful there, it will quickly move on to production and be placed on the market, where it will be useful to millions of people wishing to stave off dementia.
This study marks a significant progress toward a safe and successful method of Alzheimer’s prevention, and it’s the first of its kind to be this effective without any noticeable side effects, such as brain inflammation. Even if the vaccine isn’t fully effective in preventing Alzheimer’s, it might at least be useful for staving off the disease for a short time.
“If the onset of the disease could be delayed by even five years, that would be enormous for the patients and their families,” said Doris Lambracht-Washington, a professor of neurology and neurotherapeutics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Of course, this vaccine won’t get rid of dementia entirely, even if it’s fully successful. Dementia is simply the broad description for the symptoms of cognitive decline, but there are many causes. Alzheimer’s disease is only one of those causes, which accounts for about half of dementia cases.
However, even small steps in the right direction are more than we’ve had in the past and offer immense hope for the future. We hope this team has great success with their vaccine and is able to make it available to the public soon!