According to a new study, both antibody-based treatments and a specific protein vaccine reduced Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice. Mice are always used to study human disease.
Instead of working with the beta-amyloids in the brain, which are usually associated with Alzheimer’s, the antibody and vaccine developed by scientists target a different form of protein. Beta-amyloids naturally exist in solution in the form of highly flexible filamentous molecules that can bond together to form fibers and plaques. In Alzheimer’s disease, most of these filamentous molecules are shortened or “truncated,” and some scientists believe these forms are key to the development and progression of the disease.
The antibody neutralizes truncated forms of beta-amyloid, but does not bind to normal ones. Scientists thought that this modified form of beta-amyloid could potentially be used as a vaccine. It would make the immune system make antibodies. The researchers confirmed their hypothesis in mice. Both the antibody and the vaccine helped restore neuronal function, even restore memory loss, and reduce amyloid-beta plaque formation.