Alzheimer's Vaccine Successfully Tested On Mice

A new vaccine developed by researchers at the University of Texas could delay the effects of Alzheimer's by up to five years.

The study -- conducted over the last decade -- tested an Alzheimer's vaccine on mice and found that it reduced the buildup of the two toxic proteins (tau and beta-amyloids) associated with the disease.

The authors of the study -- which is published in Alzheimer's Research And Therapy -- said the promising result in the lab means they're edging ever close to testing the vaccine out on humans.

"This study is the culmination of a decade of research that has repeatedly demonstrated that this vaccine can effectively and safely target in animal models what we think may cause Alzheimer’s disease,” said co-author Dr. Roger Rosenberg.

“I believe we’re getting close to testing this therapy in people," he added.

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The study prompted a 40 and 50 percent reduction in the buildup of beta-amyloids and tau, respectively, without any adverse immune responses. The authors say the vaccine would be most effective for people who did not show symptoms of Alzheimer's but have higher levels of tau and amyloid stored in the brain.

The University of Texas is currently working on a spinal fluid test that would be able to test the levels of the toxic proteins in humans.

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Co-author Dr Doris Lambracht-Washington said the successful study results could have a "major therapeutic value".

“If the onset of the disease could be delayed by even five years, that would be enormous for the patients and their families,” Lambracht-Washington said in a statement. 

“The number of dementia cases could drop by half," she added.

The effects of dementia include a "loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and physical functioning", according to Dementia Australia. 

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, which affects more than 436,00 Australians as of this year -- with an estimated 250 people joining the dementia population each day.

Main Image: Getty Images.