Preventive treatment for dementia moves towards clinical trials after successful animal testing.
Research conducted in the US is trying to develop effective immunotherapy through a new dementia vaccine to remove the "brain plaque" and aggregates of Tau proteins linked to Alzheimer's disease.
Recent successes in mice support the direction of human experimentation in the years to come, the researchers say.
A new article in the Alzheimer Research & Therapy journal paves the way for further testing in 2020, with medical researchers from the Institute of Molecular Medicine and the University of California, Irvine (UCI) working on a successful vaccine formulated by Prof. Nikolai Petrovsky.
The latest research aims to find a new treatment to remove the accumulated beta-amyloid (Aβ) plaques and neurofibrillary tangles composed of hyperphosphorylated tau, which together lead to the neurodegeneration and cognitive decline of Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the leading cause of age-related dementia, affecting approximately 5,7 million people in the US. The main challenges they include a lack of effective treatments, reliable biomarkers, or preventative strategies.
The Professor of the Institute of Molecular Medicine Anahit Ghochikyan and colleagues, UCI associate professors Hvat Davtyan and Mathew Blurton-Jones and other co-authors tested the universal multiTEP platform-based vaccines formulated in the adjuvant developed in Professor Petrovsky's Australian laboratory.
The possible new therapies were tested on bigenic mice with Aβ and tau mix pathologies.
"Taken together, these findings justify the further development of this dual vaccination strategy based on MultiTEP technology for final testing in human Alzheimer's disease", conclude the main authors, the professors Ghochikyan e Blurton-Jones.
Vaccine against Alzheimer's: the approach
Professor Petrovsky says the Advax adjuvant method is a pivotal system to help bring therapy with MultiTEP-based Aβ / tau vaccines, as well as separate vaccines targeting these disease molecules, to clinical trials - possibly within two years.
"Our approach is trying to cover all the bases and overcome previous blocks in the search for a therapy to slow the accumulation of Aβ / tau molecules and delay the progression of Alzheimer's in an increasing number of people around the world", says Professor Petrovsky, who will work in the United States for the next three months.
Several promising drug candidates have failed in clinical trials, so the search for new prevention or treatment continues.
A recent report on the human monoclonal antibody, aducanumab, showed that a high dose of this antibody reduced clinical decline in patients with early AD, as measured by primary and secondary endpoints.
However, it goes without saying that it could not be used as a preventive measure in healthy subjects due to the need for frequent (monthly) administration of high concentrations of immunotherapics.
Professor Ghochikyan says there is an urgent need to continue looking for a new preventative vaccine to delay Alzheimer's and slow the progression of this devastating disease.
The new paper concludes that the new combined vaccination approach could induce strong immune responses against the disease.