Researchers have apparently reached a milestone in medicine. A vaccine against Alzheimer's is now being tested on humans – in the form of a nasal spray.
Kassel – Forgetfulness, problems with orientation or speech: these and other symptoms accompany sufferers of Alzheimer's disease (AD). It is the most common form of dementia, affecting millions of people worldwide – and the number is increasing. This was the conclusion of a study by the World Health Organization (WHO). By 2030, 40 percent more people worldwide could suffer from dementia than today. In 2019, it was still around 55 million people.
Although there are ways to treat the disease and its sequelae, Alzheimer's cannot be stopped. The insidiously progressing disease affects not only patients, but also relatives. Now a new vaccine may offer hope.
Vaccine against Alzheimer's disease: researchers begin clinical trial
Researchers from the U.S. are launching a clinical trial to test the safety and efficacy of an Alzheimer's vaccine in the form of a nasal spray. This should slow down the progression of the disease and even prevent it altogether. After nearly 20 years of research led by neurologist Howard L. Weiner, the nasally administered vaccine will be tested on volunteers.
"The launch of the first human trial of a nasal vaccine against Alzheimer's disease is a remarkable milestone," Weiner said in a news release from Brigham and Women's Hospital. "Over the past two decades, we've gathered preclinical evidence that points to the potential of this nasal vaccine for AD," the neuroscientist continued.
Nasal spray against Alzheimer's: safety and efficacy of the vaccine are being tested
If clinical trials show the nasal spray vaccine is safe and effective, it could provide a "non-toxic treatment for people with Alzheimer's". In addition, Weiner says it could be administered early to prevent dementia in high-risk patients.
Vaccination as a nasal spray: active ingredient to dissolve deposits in the brain
Nasal vaccines are administered through the nose much like a nasal spray. The active ingredient is then absorbed through the mucous membranes. Such preparations are already used in flu shots. Those who want to be vaccinated get the vaccine administered with a spray into both nostrils. Research is also currently being conducted into the development of new corona vaccines in the form of a nasal spray. The active substances were to be tested on volunteers as early as September.
The potential Alzheimer's vaccine from the USA uses the drug protollin. It stimulates the immune system. Alzheimer's disease causes beta-amyloid proteins to build up in the brain and cannot be broken down by the body. According to the researchers, the protollin agent activates white blood cells, which loosen deposits on nerve cells.
New vaccine for Alzheimer's disease: researchers are hopeful
Research in this area is not only enabling the potential treatment of Alzheimer's disease, "but also other neurodegenerative diseases," Tanuja Chitnis, professor of neurology at Brigham and the study's principal investigator, expressed enthusiasm. But whether the nasal spray vaccine will actually work, and what side effects might occur, remains to be seen for now. [kas)
Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche and partner Morphosys also raised hopes for approval of a possible drug against Alzheimer's disease. The study with around 2,000 participants is expected to be completed in the second half of 2022.