Alzheimer's vaccine shows promising results

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — A DNA vaccine tested on mice reduced two types of toxic proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease, according to a medical journal.

A study conducted by the University of Texas Southwestern's Peter O'Donnell Jr. Brain Institute found the vaccine reduced the accumulation of the proteins believed to cause the disease without any negative effects.

That study was published in the Alzheimer's Research and Therapy journal.

The two toxic proteins reduced through the study are tau and beta-amyloids.

The latest study showed the vaccine prompted a 40 percent reduction in beta-amyloid and up to a 50 percent reduction in tau, with no adverse immune response.

“If the onset of the disease could be delayed by even five years, that would be enormous for the patients and their families,” said Dr. Doris Lambracht-Washington, the study’s senior author. “The number of dementia cases could drop by half.”

The test has been conducted in three types of mammals: mice, rabbit and monkeys. Researchers believe testing with humans may be a close next step.

About 5.7 million Americans have the fatal disease, with the number expected to more than double by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.