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Scientists make discovery that 'could lead to Alzheimer's vaccine'

Scientists make discovery that 'could lead to Alzheimer's vaccine'
16th January 2013

Researchers in Canada believe they may have made a breakthrough that could eventually lead to a vaccine that prevents Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists at the Université Laval in Quebec have been working in conjunction with pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline to create a treatment for the neurodegenerative condition.

Their findings appear in the latest edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

Patients with Alzheimer's produce a toxic molecule known as amyloid beta, which cannot be broken up by the cells in the brain, and leaves plaque deposits.

Led by Dr Serge Rivest, the team discovered a molecule that stimulates the immune cells in the brain and weekly injections of the molecule into mice with Alzheimer's disease resulted in an 80 per cent reduction in plaque deposits.

Dr Rivest explained that the injection could potentially be used as a treatment for Alzheimer's patients, or as a vaccine to prevent development of the condition.

He said: "When our team started working on Alzheimer's disease a decade ago, our goal was to develop better treatment for Alzheimer's patients. With the discovery announced today, I think we're close to our objective."

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