ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico – The University of New Mexico researchers have developed a vaccine that can prevent Alzheimer's disease and it is just a matter of time before they start testing it on humans,
Kiran Bhaskar has been passionate about studying Alzheimer's disease over the past decade. As a lecturer at UNM's Department of Health and Science, he says that the search for cures began with an idea in 2013.
"I would say that it took about five years to get away from the idea that was generated and get the full working vaccine", he says.
Bhaskar and his team began testing the vaccine on mice.
"We used a group of mice that have Alzheimer's disease and we injected them over a series of injections," says Nicole Maphis.
PhD student Nicole Maphis says that the vaccine was created to target a specific protein usually found in the brain of patients with Alzheimer's.
"What we chose to pursue was a specific region of tau that you saw pathological tau the red structures that are common in Alzheimer's disease. We wanted to make a vaccine against it," says Maphis.
Maphis was happy to see the results.
"These antibodies appear to have cleared pathological rope. Pathological rope is one of the components of these tangles that we find in the brain of patients with Alzheimer's disease, "she says. [The mice then received a series of labyrinth-like tests. The mice that received the vaccine worked much better than those who did not." ] Despite that, Maphis and Bhaskar say this is not a complete success yet. Getting the vaccine to people will not only take a few years but can cost up to $ 1 billion.
"We need to make sure we have one clinical version of the vaccine so that we can test in humans, "says Bhaskar.
To test a small group, it would cost the health department $ 2 million. Currently, Maphis and Bhaskar are looking for partnerships to help them achieve their goal A clinical grade vaccine
When developing a vaccine that is safe for humans, they must submit it to the FDA for approval, which may take another five years.