A new Alzheimer’s vaccine developed by scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern could conceivably cut the number of dementia cases in half.
Unlike a previous attempt that caused swelling in the brain when DNA was injected into the test mice’s muscles, the new vaccine was administered by injecting it superficially into the skin.
Alzheimer’s, which is expected to strike triple the number of people by 2050, cripples the brain as human beings age, as beta-amyloid proteins in the brain get stuck together and tau proteins start to tangle, both of which inhibit neural connections. The new vaccine, injected into the skin, triggers the skin cells to produce a three-molecule chain of beta-amyloid. The immune system is then catalyzed to produce antibodies to fight beta-amyloid; the antibodies also fight tau proteins. This means the body anticipates the Alzheimer’s plaques and tangles before they happen.
As the Daily Mail reports, the research team tested four groups of mice; the vaccinated mice experienced as much as 40% of their beta-amyloid plaques reduced and as much as 50% of their tau tangles diminished. No adverse immune response was observed.
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