Alzheimer’s disease drug and vaccine found? | Photo credit: iStock images
- Alzheimer’s disease is a shocking diagnosis for most of the patient’s caregivers. The disease comes on quite slowly and it is usually quite late that the diagnosis is made.
- Unfortunately, it is also irreversible, and the victim’s fate seems sealed – doomed to end in a state of loss of memory and cognitive abilities.
- But wait! Researchers say they are on the verge of discovering a flagship drug not only to vaccinate people against Alzheimer’s disease, but also to reverse it in some cases.
This is news that will hopefully only get better and if things are as researchers claim, humanity has found a new way to treat Alzheimer’s disease. A drug – a treatment and a method of vaccination against him – was developed by a team of British and German scientists.
According to a report from the British daily Express.co.uk, the antibody-based treatment and the protein-based vaccine were developed by the team to reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in mouse models of the disease. .
The research is published today in Molecular Psychiatry.
Who are the people behind the discovery?
According to the Express report, the work is a collaboration between researchers from the University of Leicester, University Medical Center Göttingen and the medical research charity LifeArc.
How does this medicine work?
The Express says that instead of focusing on the beta-amyloid protein in plaques in the brain, which are commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers found the antibody and the vaccine – both targeting a different soluble form of protein, which is considered highly toxic. Amyloid beta-protein naturally exists as very flexible chain-like molecules in solution, which can join together to form fibers and plaques.
What is the basis of this method and this medicine?
- Thanks to a study, researchers found that in Alzheimer’s disease, a high proportion of these chain-like molecules shorten or “truncate”.
- These forms are essential for the development and progression of the disease.
- In clinical trials, none of the potential treatments that dissolve amyloid plaques in the brain have been successful in reducing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
- The researchers identified an antibody in mice that would neutralize truncated forms of soluble beta-amyloid but would not bind to normal forms of the protein or to plaques.
- LifeArc researchers have adapted this antibody so that a human immune system does not recognize it as foreign and accept it.
- When the Leicester research group looked at how and where this “humanized” antibody, called TAP01_04, binds to the truncated form of beta-amyloid.
- The amyloid beta-protein was folded over on itself, in a hairpin structure.
- This structure had never been seen before in beta-amyloid.
- However, the discovery of such a defined structure allowed the team to design this region of the protein to stabilize the hairpin shape and bind to the antibody in the same way.
- The researchers decided that this modified form of beta-amyloid could potentially be used as a vaccine, to trigger a person’s immune system to make TAP01_04 type antibodies.
- The modified beta-amyloid protein has been tested in mice as a “vaccine” and produced TAP01 antibodies.
- The vaccine targets the protein considered responsible for development.
- The researchers found that the antibody and vaccine helped restore neuronal function, increase glucose metabolism in the brain, restore memory loss, and – although not directly targeted – reduce blood loss. formation of beta-amyloid plaques.
The team of scientists involved in this breakthrough (among other researchers) were:
- Preeti Bakrania, Gareth Hall, Yvonne Bouter. LifeArc, Center for Therapeutics Discovery, Open Innovation Campus, Stevenage, United Kingdom
- Mark D. Carr, Leicester Institute of Structural and Chemical Biology and Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Henry Wellcome Building, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom
- Professor Thomas Bayer, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG), Georg-August-University, Göttingen, Germany
The researchers used the same imaging techniques that are used in humans with a similar disease. Dr Preeti Bakrania of LifeArc, Center for Therapeutics Discovery, Open Innovation Campus, Stevenage, UK, told Express.co.uk: “The results achieved so far are very exciting and testify to the scientific expertise of the team. If the treatment works, it could transform the lives of many patients. “
Professor Mark Carr added: “Although the science is still at an early stage, if these findings were to be replicated in human clinical trials, then they could be transformative. “This opens up the possibility of not only treating Alzheimer’s disease once symptoms are detected, but also potentially vaccinating against the disease before symptoms appear.”
Researchers are now looking to find a business partner to move the therapeutic antibody and vaccine to clinical trials.
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