Tuesday, April 15, 2008

INJECTION OF HOPE - Alzheimer’s Vaccine

A revolutionary drug that stops Alzheimer’s disease could be available within a few years.

It could prevent people from reaching the devastating final stages of the illness in which sufferers lose the ability to work, talk or even swallow, and end up totally dependent on others.

Alzheimer's, the most common cause of dementia, affects about 200,000 Australians. Possibly thousands of others are undiagnosed or in the very early stages of the disease.

Existing drugs can delay the progress of the symptoms, but their effect wears off relatively quickly, allowing the disease to take its devastating course. In contrast, the new vaccine may be able to hold the disease at bay indefinitely, known as CAD106, showed it is highly effective at breaking up the sticky protein that clogs the brain in Alzheimer’s destroying vital connections between brain cells.

The vaccine uses a tiny section of the amyloid protein attached to an empty virus shell to trick the immune system into attaching and breaking up deposits of protein clogging the brain.

The development of tests capable of detecting the disease in its earliest stages would allow the jab to be given as early as possible and also used to keep the disease at bay in those with a strong family history of the illness.

But while the jab may stop the disease in its tracks, it is not expected to repair dear tissue, so will not be a cure.


Step 1) Amyloid plaque builds up on the brain. Connections between brain cells are destroyed, causing memory loss.
Step 2) A series of vaccine injections are give to patient. Vaccine produces antibodies which trigger break-up of the plaque.
Step 3) Levels of antibodies are kept high by booster injections and the disease is halted.

Original post: Courier Mail 23/06/07 Saturday.

By Chiung-Yin Tu #4138534

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