Increase in Alzheimer's vaccine a way out
Alzheimer's: Antibody therapies may be available in just a few years
The increase in Alzheimer's disease could bring the health care system to the limit of resilience in the coming decades. With the predicted increase in the number of people affected by the year 2050, adequate care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients would hardly be possible, as there simply would not be enough nursing staff available. Hopes are therefore based on the development of drugs that can stop or even cure the disease. So far, Alzheimer's vaccine seems to be the most promising approach.
Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia and affects almost 1.3 million people in Germany today. By the year 2050, the experts expect a doubling of the number of patients. A cure of the disease is not possible in the current medical state, only a delay in the course of the disease and a relief of the symptoms can be achieved. However, various treatment approaches are currently being researched, with a type of Alzheimer's vaccine, according to the news agency „dpa“ currently in focus.
Alzheimer's vaccine for activating the body's defenses?
The so-called immunotherapies form an approach in which there is a passive immunization of the body by supplied antibodies, the reports „dpa“ citing the psychiatrist Timo Grimmer of the Memorial Outpatient Clinic of the Psychiatric Clinic at the Technical University (TU) Munich. The activation of the body's own defense should enable a reduction of the deposits of metabolic products in the brain or at least prevent the dreaded plaque from forming. The deposits of proteins (so-called amyloid peptides) increasingly affect the course of the disease, the nerve connections and cause a death of the brain cells, which in turn causes the typical loss of memory up to complete memory loss. Grimmer concludes that - „when things are going well“ - In about two years, approved antibody therapies were available. „Then medicine will certainly try to develop vaccines“, explained the psychiatrist to the „dpa“. This is definitely the long-term goal. Today, patients can only help diagnose their condition as early as possible, because so far only a significant delay in the course of the disease is possible.
Growing awareness of Alzheimer's in society
The Munich psychiatrist further reports that in the office hours actually more Alzheimer's patients present themselves at a very early stage of the disease. Apparently here „Fear that Alzheimer's disease may spoil the twilight years, increasing awareness in society“ formed for the disease, Grimmer told the „dpa“. Often, slightly ill patients would come to him who have not yet reached the stage of dementia. With the help of anti-dementia drugs, the brain cells could be stimulated in such a way that the memory loss is initially not so strongly felt. However, the drugs can not completely stop the disease process and so expects the late-stage sufferers a pronounced loss of their cognitive abilities (especially memory loss), which brings a complete care need.
Not to ensure proper care
The foreseeable need for care for the growing number of Alzheimer's patients, according to Grimmer also „the crucial point, why it is so important that the medicine progresses. Because „a widespread disease that affects millions can no longer be mastered at some point“, quotes the „dpa“ the statement of the Munich psychiatrist. Although fortunately, in most cases, the relatives, the partners or the children look after those affected, but doubling the number of Alzheimer's patients and at the same time fewer young people who are even ready for care, this model seems less viable. (Fp)
Picture: Gerd Altmann, Pixelio