Bengt Winblad is a professor at Karolinska Institute. Photo: Karolinska/Scanpix

Researchers develop a safe Alzheimer's vaccine

A new Swedish study shows that it may be possible to develop a safe vaccine against Alzheimer's disease. Earlier attempts at a vaccine caused serious side-effects and, in some cases, deaths.

But according to doctors at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, this latest study, using a new vaccine, was a success.

"We followed 58 patients throughout the study over a 3-year period and we saw absolutely no serious side-effects," Bengt Winblad, professor at Karolinska Institute, tells Swedish Radio.

The new vaccine was given to patients with mild to moderate dementia symptoms caused by Alzheimer's. The new study used a vaccine that targeted the plaque of proteins that gather in the brain, and that cause dementia. The study found that participants who received the vaccine developed antibodies to the plaque build-up.

An attempt at an Alzheimer's vaccine ten years ago ended in disaster when a number of the patients developed encephalitis. Several died.

The study's authors cannot say for sure whether the vaccine can slow down the development of Alzheimer's disease. But the researchers have now started a follow-up study. Patients in ten countries will participate and researchers will also try to determine if their thought processes and practical capacity are improved.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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