A jab that could halt the debilitating rise of Alzheimer's disease could be available within two years. The vaccine is not a cure but a preventative measure against the disease, and may in some cases reverse the onslaught of Alzheimers.
There are two vaccines that have reached the final testing stage. Initial safety levels have been passed and clinical trials are now going ahead on 10,000 patients worldwide. Currently drugs used to treat Alzheimers do halt the disease, even slowing it down dramatically but eventually the failure to tackle the root problem of the disease leads patients to become immune to the drugs, and consequently the disease takes rapid advantage.
The problem lies within a build up in the brain of a toxic protein called amyloid.
Amyloid clogs the cells and paths. In one test the amyloid build up was reduced by as much as 25 percent, reports Daily Mail.
Amyloid clogging prevents the brain from communicating because of clogging, much like an artery in the heart clogs and prevents blood from its flow through the anterior chambers. The hold-up prevents brain cells from communicating with each other, disrupting memory, mood and behaviour.
Three pharmaceutical giants have already expressed an interest in marketing the jab when testing ends in 2012. Experts, however are stressing that the vaccine may not work for everybody and each patient could be charged several thousand pounds for the regular injections, which will be administered for life.
It would appear that this is the first step toward tackling the disease where existing drugs will concentrate on the symptoms.
Professor Clive Ballard, researching director at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: "Finding the right vaccine would be a life-changing matter for people living with Alzheimer’s [but] this is early days and a substantial amount of research is needed. Dementia research is desperately underfunded and to make the breakthroughs we need, we must invest now."