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Vaccine For Alzheimer's Could Be A Reality Soon, And This Could Be The Breakthrough We're Looking For

Vaccine For Alzheimer's Could Be A Reality Soon, And This Could Be The Breakthrough We're Looking For

The company tested the vaccine on human subjects and the tests showed a 96 percent success rate with no major side effects.

For the past two decades, medical experts have been seeking a remedy for an incurable disease — Alzheimer's. Many biotech companies have tried to develop vaccines in order to counter this condition, however, they have found little success in their endeavor. Although some of these vaccines showed a promising effect on some patients, they, unfortunately, came with devastating side effects like swelling of the brain. The reason behind this unwanted reaction was said to be the patients’ immune systems reacting adversely as soon as the foreign substance was introduced in their blood. 



 

 

Nevertheless, after an extensive bit of research,  a company named United Neuroscience Inc. believes to have stumbled across something which could be very helpful to the study. This four-year-old Dublin startup has not made any claims nor has found a solution to the impending problem of Alzheimer’s as of now. Previously, the unreported results of the United clinical trial displayed positive results. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the trial revealed how 96 percent of the patients positively responded to the vaccine with no serious side effects.



 

 

This vaccine was named UB-311. After introducing the medication into the bloodstream, the experts noticed an improvement in the patient's brain functions along with a reduction in the protein plaque that often tends to affect the neurons. Speaking about the company's' possible breakthrough, Mei Mei Hu, the Chief Executive Officer in the project said, "We are doing better than the placebo on all these things. We can’t make any claims yet, but we’re pointing in all the right directions."



 

After pouring over every detail, the experts have narrowed down two proteins (amyloid and tau) which they believe causes the ill effects of Alzheimer's. These clusters of proteins accumulate in the body over time and finally clump together in a disastrous manner, causing problems which include inflammation. The vaccine that  United created was designed in such a manner that the patient’s own immune system would fight off the amyloid tissues. The purpose of UB-311 was to decelerate the pace at which the proteins clump together while attempting to reverse some of the prior damage caused to the brain and also restore its functions.



 

The second phase of the company's clinical trial came to an end last year. A group of 42 patients with mild cognitive impairment was chosen. All of them were at the early stages of the disease. The strength was divided into three parts where one control group just received a placebo. The remaining two groups were given three shots of the vaccine followed by boosters, either every three or six months. This experimental treatment went on for a year and a half. Due to the limited amount of patients, the conclusive details they found weren't statistically reliable, but according to Hu, the company has been given the green flag to continue with the development of this vaccine.



 

Frank Longo, the co-founder of Pharmatrophix Inc. and chairman of Stanford's neurology department said, "They claim to get around the immune response, and it looks like they have been successful. So that’s good." As per reports, United has already spent $100 million to date on their vaccine research. The brilliant minds behind this vaccine, Hu, is a 35-year-old Harvard-trained lawyer who worked with the likes of Cravath, Swaine & Moore. After this, she left her work and moved to Hawaii with her real estate developer husband Lou Reese, 37, to start an organic farm and solar power company. 



 

 

The couple ran their farm for a couple of years by often referring to YouTube videos. Chang Yi Wang, Hu's mother is the chief scientific officer in United. She is also the driving force behind this company. Wang has come up with various medical solutions one of which kept billions of animals healthier. "My mother-in-law actually invented something that Harry Potters your balls and makes them disappear," said Reese. When the vaccine showed positive results in the animals, Hu and Reese convinced Wang to allow her idea to breathe outside the lab and into the field.



 

Pointing at the limitation Stanford’s Longo said, "Any therapy centered on going after amyloids is dependent on how accurate the amyloid hypothesis is, and that hypothesis continues to be questioned." To cure this disease, the patient is required to start treatment even before the symptoms occur. Now, it's obvious that no physician can predict right away if the person is suffering from  Alzheimer’s or dementia. The company is now focused on raising enough money in order to get a more conclusive UB-311 study. 



 

 

The company is all set to begin trails for UB-312 specially designed to counter Parkinson’s disease and another Alzheimer’s vaccine, which would assist in fight tau. A  leading Alzheimer’s researcher and an adviser to United Neuroscience, Eric Reiman said, "They have taken thoughtful initial steps with this very promising technology. But this is still the beginning of the beginning."



 

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