Developing an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease has been an unlikely prospect for many scientists for many decades. Many drug trials have been conducted in the last 20 years and they have failed to come up with treatments that can halt the growth of the deadly mental disorder. Many drugmakers around the world have dumped the idea of developing an effective therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, people who have been dealing with Alzheimer’s disease have been relying on drugs that have the ability to reduce some major symptoms of the disease such as memory loss, insomnia, and loss of reasoning and language. These drugs can offer some relief to Alzheimer’s patients for a limited period. However, now, experts have informed that the field of development for Alzheimer’s treatments might soon open again.
Scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital have declared that they are going to conduct the first human trial for a nasal spray vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease that has been designed to slow down or prevent the onset of the disease. This first human trial is going to be small. Nearly 16 patients who are dealing with Alzheimer’s disease in the age range of 60 to 85 years will be enrolled in the human trial. They will be given two doses of the nasal spray shot in a gap of one week.
Experts have said that this vaccine has been developed after decades of studies that suggest that activating the immune system can help clean out the buildup of beta-amyloid in the brain. Health experts have said that sticky plaques of beta-amyloid are a trademark of Alzheimer‘s disease. These plaques are created when tiny pieces of beta-amyloid protein mount up between nerve cells. Such plaques interrupt patients’ aptitude to think and recall information.
The team of scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital has said that the nasal shot sprays a medicine known as Protollin directly into the nasal passage that stimulates immune cells of the brain to clear away the plaque of beta-amyloid protein. A brain science professor from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Dr. Jeffrey Cummings has said that the concept of this vaccine is not a new one but at this time, it is more promising as scientists know how the disease can be treated in a better way.
He has said that the idea of stimulating immune cells has become more and more vital to the plan of treating Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Jeffrey Cummings has claimed that a nasal spray might be more useful in delivering the drug to immune cells as compared to an infusion or inhaler. The team of scientists has said that the findings of the first human trial will inform them better about how to prevent the growth of Alzheimer’s disease as participants of the trial have been at an early stage of the deadly mental disorder and have been in good health as well.
Experts have said that before the vaccine is tested in large human trials, it is essential for scientists to find out how safe the vaccine is and what will be an appropriate dose for people. The human trial of the nasal spray vaccine has been launched during a prolific year for treatments of Alzheimer’s disease. In the month of June, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given a sanction to a new Alzheimer’s drug in the last 20 years for the first time. The drug is an antibody infusion that is known as Aduhelm.
However, the approval of this antibody infusion has irked controversy as many scientists have started questioning whether the FDA’s authorization to the drug has been well deserved. They have said that clinical trials have shown that the drug has not been able to improve memory or cognitive function definitively. On the other hand, experts from the FDA have said that the drug has been able to reduce the levels of plaques in the brains of patients who have been dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. However, an FDA advisory committee has found that there has not been enough evidence to show that it will be effective as a treatment.
The controversy over the approval of the drug has irked from the fact that the drug company Biogen has ceased the late-stage clinical trials in 2019 assuming that the drug might not work. However, six months later, participants of these trials have started to show promising results. Dr. Cummings has said that it has led to a lot of disagreements in the analysis of data of trials. The FDA has given a sanction to the drug under a special accelerated pathway. As per the data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 5.8 million people are dealing with Alzheimer’s disease in the United States.
It is one of the leading causes of death in the country, said the experts. Around 122000 people in the US have lost their lives due to the disease in 2019. Scientists have said that deaths linked to Alzheimer’s disease have become more frequent among elderly people in the US. As per the data, The US mortality rate due to Alzheimer’s disease has shot up to 88 percent from 1999 to 2019. The rate of death due to Alzheimer’s disease in the US has shot up to 30 deaths per 100000 people in 2019 from 16 deaths per 100000 people in 1999. Health experts have claimed that these figures might be underestimated as many people who deal with cognitive decline are not timely diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or suffer from other health issues as well. However, in the last five years or so, new medical advancements such as brain scanning and blood tests have made Alzheimer’s diagnosis easier.
Brain scanning and blood tests can find out how well treatments of Alzheimer’s disease are working on patients. Dr. Jeffrey Cummings has said that apart from Aduhelm, there are few antibody drugs that have shown promising effects in treating Alzheimer’s disease. A drug firm known as Eli Lilly is planning to submit the data to the FDA of its drug for Alzheimer’s disease that is known as donanemab by the end of this year. The officials are expecting that they might get authorization for their drug next year. Two pharmaceutical firms, Biogen and Eisai have jointly developed an antibody-drug known as Iecanemab. These companies are planning to apply to the FDA to seek authorization for the drug. Dr. Cummings has said that all these drugs seem to be as promising as Aduhelm.