Over 5.6 million people over 65 years old are living with Alzheimer’s disease in the United States. This disease affects far more than the many millions living with it; spouses, children, and grandchildren can be lost from memory and treated as complete strangers. The costs of caring for a loved one with this disease can take a serious dent out of retirement savings. There is good news on the horizon; many research centers have been making progress in finding a cure. In 2018, an Alzheimer’s vaccine showed great promise in animal testing at the University of Texas Southern medical center. This vaccine was shown to safely prevent the buildup of substances in the brain of mice associated with this debilitating disease; the research team reported the journal Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy. Unfortunately, many other vaccines created were found to cause brain swelling and other side effects and the biotech companies have called off their projects.
There is a company out of Dublin Ireland that has progressed to human trials and is having very positive results. United Neurosciences has a vaccine dubbed UB-311, which is having great results after phase 2A of testing. In this phase, they tested on 42 patients with mild cognitive impairment, typical of the early stages of Alzheimer’s. 33.3% were given placebo shots and 66.6% were given UB-311. Of those receiving the actual vaccine, an astounding 96% responded to the drug and showed improved cognition and a lower level of beta-amyloid, the toxic plaque that accumulates in Alzheimer’s patients and the target of the vaccine.
Peter Powchik, executive vice president of R & D at United Neurosciences explained, “The positive results show that we can safely raise and maintain anti-[beta-amyloid] antibody titers in a predictable and sustained manner. High response rates, reproducibility of response and generation of antibodies directed to relevant toxic protein species are key elements of an effective therapeutic vaccine for neurodegenerative conditions. The UNS platform is proving that it can deliver on these requirements.”
They only have to complete phase 2b of testing to start phase 3 testing necessary to get FDA approval for widespread treatment of this disease. The vaccine at the University of South Texas medical center and at United Neurosciences show positive development for the treatment of this disease and the many people that have loved ones suffering from this sickness will continue to hope and pray for positive developments in this area.