Imagine an Alzheimer's patient receiving a vaccine made of specialized blood cells and then showing a much- improved memory. Also, imagine that vaccine having no side effects and needing to be given only occasionally.
Researchers at the Johnnie B. Byrd, Sr. Alzheimer's Center & Research Institute in Tampa, Florida, have not only imagined these things, they have actually developed such a vaccine that they show reverses memory loss in Alzheimer's mice.
In a study published this week in the journal, Neurobiology of Disease, researchers report that tests of the new vaccine on mice shows promise of reversing memory loss and seriously slowing the effects of Alzheimer's on patients. The groundbreaking research was done by investigators from the Byrd Alzheimer's Institute, the University of South Florida, and University of California Riverside.
In the study, researchers took ordinary white blood cells (immune cells) from normal mice and exposed those white blood cells to an abnormal protein called "beta-amyloid." Beta-amyloid accumulates in Alzheimer's brains and appears to be the root cause of this devastating disease.
A single injection of white blood cells "sensitized" to beta-amyloid was given to Alzheimer's mice with impaired memories and Alzheimer's-like brain pathologies. When the Alzheimer's mice were tested several months later, their memory performance was surprisingly improved, even up to the level of normal mice. Moreover, this single vaccine treatment increased connections between brain cells and reduced brain levels of beta-amyloid in the Alzheimer's mice.
It's so cool when diseases like Alzheimers start yielding to modern science. Science is so totally going to cure a lot of diseases in the coming biotech revolution.
We will all be much healthier and happier in the coming years.