CBS News reports:
University of New Mexico researchers are working on a vaccine they hope could prevent Alzheimer’s disease, UNM’s Health and Sciences Department Associate Professor Kiran Bhaskar, who’s been passionate about studying the disease for the last decade, says the work started with an idea in 2013. Bhaskar and his team started to test the vaccine on mice. It has not yet been shown if it works in people.
“We used a group of mice that have Alzheimer’s disease, and we injected them over a series of injections,” said PhD student Nicole Maphis. She said the vaccine targets a specific protein known as tau that’s commonly found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. The mice were then given a series of maze-like tests. The mice that received the vaccine performed a lot better than those that hadn’t.
The Associated Press reports:
Drugs that work in mice don’t always have the same effects on humans, so a clinical trial will be required to determine the vaccine’s success. Testing a small group comes with a $2 million price tag for the department, so the group is looking for partnerships for help cover the cost.
One in 10 Americans over age 65 has Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., according to Alzheimer’s Disease International. Alzheimer’s prevalence is expected to rise at least 14 percent across all 50 states between 2017 and 2025.