On a very regular basis, researchers seem to come up with new behavior, drug, or environmental factor that increases a person chance of developing Alzheimer’s. Society is acutely aware of the many factors that cause this debilitating illness, but there is very little research about preventing or reversing the disease. There is an Alzheimer’s vaccine called UB-311 that is close to being released to the general public. This Alzheimer’s vaccine has the potential for preventing and stopping the illness.
Targeting the root issue
Right now, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s. Once a person has the disease, doctors can only manage the symptoms or slow the inevitable effects of the disease. Alzheimer’s is currently incurable because it is a mechanical problem. Although there are many hypotheses, scientists are still not completely sure of what causes a protein to buildup inside the brain. These disruptive protein buildups stop the human brain from functioning properly, leading to Alzheimer’s.
There is a new way to help the body fight against new and old protein buildups. United Neuroscience is about to enter the third phase of testing UB-311, a drug that has been pegged as the Alzheimer’s vaccine. This is the first medicine that aims to prevent more protein from forming on the brain rather than trying to reverse the damage it causes.
How UB-311 works
The two proteins that are responsible for Alzheimer’s are tau and beta-amyloid proteins. Proteins are made of amino acids. Vaccines for viruses release small, inactive particles of the disease in the body, and that is exactly what UB-311 does. The potential Alzheimer’s vaccine is made of partial chains of the amino acids that make up beta-amyloid proteins.
Once these amino acids are released into the body, the immune system recognizes them as a foreign substance and fights to destroy them. Later, tau and beta-amyloid proteins attempt to form on the brain, but the immune system remembers how to destroy these foreign substances. With UB-311, the immune system will not allow protein clusters to grow to the point that brain function suffers. If it continues to be proven effective in studies, this vaccine could effectively eradicate Alzheimer’s for future generations because it stops the mechanical process that damages the brain.
Clinical trial results
For nearly a decade, the safety and efficacy of UB-311 have been tested repeatedly. First, it was tested on small mammals. There have also been several subsequent human clinical trials. In the human trials, patients who already have Alzheimer’s have been injected with UB-311. In all patients, the efficacy of the drug was tested by measuring their level of beta-amyloid protein antibodies before taking the vaccine and after taking it. In the latest trial, 96% of those studied have seen an increase in their antibody levels. Although the behavioral and physical results of taking UB-311 have yet to be released, the increased presence of antibodies means that a patient’s immune system is better equipped to stop Alzheimer’s in its tracks.
In all of the clinical trials that have been publicized, the Alzheimer’s vaccine has been proven to be safe. A small number of patients have had swelling and pain around the spot where they were injected with the Alzheimer’s vaccine, but that is an inherent risk of taking any kind of injection. Most promisingly, this vaccine has not caused any further medical or behavioral problems for a patient population whose health is already in a precarious situation. There is still much research to be done, but UB-311 has been proven to be an effective Alzheimer’s vaccine. If the third phase of clinical trials is just as successful as the first two, this vaccine can be approved for the mass market.