If 2021 will be remembered as the year for COVID-19 vaccines, perhaps 2022 will make its mark with a different kind of life-changing vaccine: a vaccine for Alzheimer’s that may actually prevent or slow the progression of the disease.
The first human trial of Protollin, delivered via nasal spray, is underway in 16 seniors between the ages of 60 and 85 with early-stage Alzheimer’s symptoms. The anticipated end result of this nasal vaccine for Alzheimer’s will be to activate immune cells that will remove the beta-amyloid plaque believed to cause the disease.
Coming on the heels of controversial results of Biogen’s Aduhelm, the first new approved drug for Alzheimer’s in decades, the stakes are high. Aduhelm is an antibody infusion that initially seemed to fail in its goal of improving memory and cognition functioning, leading Biogen to discontinue clinical trials. Yet several months later, there did seem to be a positive impact in a small group of participants, leading the FDA to approve its use – even if the results aren’t definitively clear.
Finding an effective treatment or preventative option is vitally important. The latest statistics show nearly 6 million Americans currently diagnosed with the disease. It’s also one of the top causes of death to adults in the U.S., with a sharp incline in mortality rate of 88% between 1999 and 2019. And that figure may only be scratching the surface, as it represents only those clinically diagnosed. We know that those with cognitive impairment may struggle with receiving an appropriate diagnosis and that they often are challenged by other health conditions as well.
Researchers are hopeful that Protollin, as well as Aduhelm and other antibody drugs undergoing study, are putting us on a promising path forward. Jeffrey Cummings, a brain-science professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, goes so far as to say, “It just feels like we have turned a corner.”
Charter Home Health’s aging care experts are helping seniors with Alzheimer’s each day, and we excitedly anticipate a day when the disease is defeated. Until then, we’re here for you with creative, personalized care to make life the very best it can be for seniors with dementia.
It’s vitally important for family members caring for someone with dementia to protect their own health by ensuring plenty of time for self-care. Our dementia respite care team is available to help you set up a schedule for regular time away – as much or as little as you desire. We’re skilled in effective management of many difficult symptoms of the disease, including wandering, aggression, agitation, sundowning, and many others.