A VACCINATION against Alzheimer’s has reached the clinical trials stage.
A biotechnology company in Zaragoza, Araclon Biotech, has developed a very advanced early-diagnosis test and, after trying out a vaccination created in response to those who test positive on rats and mice, has started testing it on human patients.
Five have been vaccinated out of a total of 24 at a clinic in Barcelona, the ACE Foundation, in a trial coordinated by Dr Merce Boada.
All 24 patients will be monitored to check tolerance levels to the injection over a period of 18 months ending June 2015, howeve,r it will take much longer to ascertain whether the vaccination does indeed slow down the process of Alzheimer’s.
Prevention better than the cure
Araclon Biotech’s scientific director, Manuel Sarasa, says the key is in prevention rather than cure, which he believes will always be impossible.
Of the 24 human guinea pigs, 16 are in the very early stages of Alzheimer’s and another eight will be given a placebo drug instead of the tested vaccination.
A further period of testing and monitoring will take at least three years, meaning it will be around the middle of the year 2020 at the earliest when it is known whether humans really can be innoculated against this debilitating condition – one which is even greater in terms of suffering for friends and family and for carers than even the patient.
But Dr Sarasa says the aim of the company – which works on developing new therapies and diagnostic methods for all types of neurodegenerative illnesses, not just Alzheimer’s – is to wipe out the condition altogether, although he says this needs “everyone’s help” to achieve.
By “everyone”, Dr Sarasa means scientists, doctors, pharmacists, associations, health authorities and politicians.