Pharmacist Tests Alzheimer’s Vaccine in Humans; understand the survey – 11/20/2021

In late October, an Alzheimer’s vaccine began to be tested in humans, according to Swedish biopharmaceutical Alzinova AB, responsible for the technology.

According to the company, the focus of the vaccine is to attack the abnormal accumulation of amyloid beta protein, one of those responsible for causing the incurable neurodegenerative disease, which progressively affects memory, behavior and other mental functions.

In addition to beta amyloid, tau protein also forms this abnormal deposit. In a natural process, enzymes would be able to “break” these proteins and eliminate them, but people with Alzheimer’s have a different mechanism.

“In those who have the disease, these proteins are broken down into larger pieces, which accumulate and form plaques in the brain”, explains Gustavo Alves, pharmacist, doctor in biotechnology and Alzheimer’s researcher at the USP School of Medicine in Ribeirão Preto. “This vaccine will prevent the beta amyloid protein in larger pieces from being formed”, he says.

understand the research

The study with the ALZ-101 vaccine will be randomized and double-blind (when the participant and researcher do not know who received the placebo or the vaccine).

In this first phase, scientists will assess the drug’s safety and tolerance, in addition to the immune response and biomarkers associated with Alzheimer’s.

In total, 26 people with initial symptoms of the disease participate in this stage. Among them, a part will receive four doses of vaccine and the other, a placebo.

The study will also look at the use of two different doses of vaccine over a 20-week period — to test how many doses would be indicated.

What do experts say?

According to Paulo Camiz, general practitioner and geriatrician at the Hospital das Clínicas in São Paulo, so far, all the drugs tested to reverse Alzheimer’s symptoms, when they started, have failed. “What happens, at most, is to delay the progression of the disease, but without reversing the process”, he says.

With this search for the vaccine, the doctor believes that the idea, now, is to treat people who have deposits of these proteins in the brain at an early stage, without symptoms of the disease. “In this research, the participants are at an early stage. We need to follow up to see what happens.”

The USP Alzheimer researcher sees the study differently. According to Alves, in recent years, the beta amyloid protein is no longer the main focus of studies related to the disease.

“Science is very dynamic. In the last 5 years, a lot has changed. Beta amyloid no longer has the ‘main status’ and the tau protein has gained this prominence. Therefore, there is new research much more focused on tau”, he says.

However, new technologies focused on the most frequent neurodegenerative disease that exists in the human species are seen with hope. According to the pharmacist, data from the ALZ-101 vaccine study are scheduled for the second half of 2023.

Alzheimer’s Early Symptoms

The loss of neurons, the third main feature of Alzheimer’s, in addition to the accumulation of beta-amyloid and tau, causes the brain to shrink in some areas. The first affected region is the hippocampus, responsible for memory and learning.

Our most important memories are consolidated in another part of the brain, and are not implicated anytime soon. But the formation of new memories is compromised.

Difficulties in solving problems or previously enjoyed activities can also stand out early on, and can be interpreted as anxiety, disinterest or depression.

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