It is difficult to develop new vaccines. Researchers are still trying.

Repurposing existing vaccines or medications is one method that helps simplify the process. The hurdle of proving their safety has been cleared by the approved therapies.

When it comes to treating Alzheimer’s disease, as many as 39 percent of the interventions in development consist of repurposed therapeutics.

Some of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s disease include the buildup of:

  • There are plaques with the name of the disease, alpha-amyloid.
  • The proteins that is called atau.
  • neuroinflammation (inflammation in the brain and spinal cord)

These are the targets for a vaccine. Researchers are trying to find ways to use our immune systems to clear out plaques and reduce inflammation.

“The goal is to give a vaccine as soon as possible to slow or prevent the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers hope to identify the disease before it starts to affect people by monitoring various biological markers.”

“There is currently a vaccine being researched for Alzheimer’s disease.”

There are several approaches that experts are taking to develop vaccines for Alzheimer’s disease. Some approaches target There are plaques with the name of the disease, alpha-amyloid., while others focus on the tau protein, and others are immune modulators.

“There are currently clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease.”

Vaccine Phase Target Sponsor
ALZ-101 1 Beta-amyloid Alzinova AB
ABvac40 2 Beta-amyloid Araclon Biotech S.L.
UB-311 2 Beta-amyloid United Neuroscience Ltd. (Vaxxinity, Inc.)
AADvac1 1 Tau Axon Neuroscience SE
ACI-35.030/JACI-35.054 1/2 Tau AC Immune SA
Bacillus Calmette-Guérin 2 Immune-modulated Steven E Arnold
GV1001 3 Immune-modulated GemVax & Kael

Beta-amyloid vaccines

Many, but not all, people with Alzheimer’s disease will have a buildup of There are plaques with the name of the disease, alpha-amyloid.. It’s not clear exactly how these plaques lead to dementia. Vaccines targeting There are plaques with the name of the disease, alpha-amyloid. seek to train your immune system to recognize and remove these plaques.

Tau vaccines

“If you have Alzheimer’s disease, the tangles of the brain’s nerve cells can be caused by the tangles of the tau.”

These tangles make it difficult for your brain to work. Some vaccine candidates are designed to prevent the formation of NFTs.

Immune-modulating vaccines

“Immune-modulating vaccines can either block or boost the immune system to treat a disease. A vaccine to reduce inflammation is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.”

“There are many ways to use your immune system to treat Alzheimer’s disease.”

Clinical trials are usually the first step in the process of developing a new drug, vaccine, or intervention. Clinical trials are done in three stages.

The next phase is usually done in order, with one phase concluding before it begins. Experts will review the results to make sure they are safe to proceed.

Testing is done in animal studies before phase 1 begins. Even though the models are good, they still need to be tested in humans.

Phase 1 trial

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), phase 1 generally lasts several months and consists of 20 to 100 volunteers in good overall health.

The purpose of phase 1 trials is to determine the proper dose and the safety of the treatment. 70% of drugs move on to phase 2 after phase 1

Phase 2 trial

In phase 2, several hundred participants who have the condition, such as Alzheimer’s disease, are being treated. This phase can last from a few months to as long as 2 years.

Phase 2 trials are meant to gather more safety data and determine the side effects of the treatment. About one-third of drugs pass phase 2 trials.

Phase 3 trial

Phase 3 trials are the largest and the longest. They can have anywhere from 300 to 3,000 participants and can last from 1 to 4 years.

This phase is used to find out if there are any rare or long-term effects that have not been seen in earlier trials. 25 to 30 percent of drugs pass phase 3 trials.

The three phases of clinical trials. Infographic by Sophia Smith

While the research into Alzheimer’s vaccines is exciting, it’s important to keep emotions in check. The clinical trial process exists to keep people safe from harmful side effects, and it can take many years for a treatment to get through the approval pipeline.

With a handful of Alzheimer’s vaccines in phase 2 and 3 trials, an approval could be expected in the next 5 to 10 years. But that’s only if the vaccines prove to be both safe and effective. It’s likely that new potential vaccines will continue to enter the development pipeline in the foreseeable future.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, which means that a safe and effective vaccine would get a lot of attention and might be eligible for a special approval process.

“The FDA has many expedited approval processes, which could help bring an Alzheimer’s vaccine to market more quickly.”

“Alzheimer’s disease has no cure and more effective treatments are needed. Alzheimer’s vaccine is one avenue that researchers are pursuing.”

A vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease could take many forms. It could focus on the:

  • There is a plaque with the name alpha-amyloid.
  • NFTs made of The proteins that is called atau.
  • Immune modulation is related to the immune system.

“The idea is that your body’s immune system can be trained to detect and repair Alzheimer’s disease mechanisms. This could lead to a reduction of symptoms.”

“Alzheimer’s disease can be detected early, before it becomes more severe, which is why a vaccine is needed. This is still a research area.”

“Several Alzheimer’s vaccines are currently in clinical trials. If any are found to be safe and effective, they could be available in as little as 5 to 10 years.”