Vaccine against Alzheimer underway by Japanese researches

The new vaccine may be an important advance because it doesn't cause the side effects seen in other vaccines.

Dr. Yoh Matsumoto, whose team developed and tested the vaccine at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute for Neuroscience said his team is now testing the DNA vaccine on aged monkeys. The findings appear in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Health Daily News reports.

The new vaccine targets genes responsible for the overproduction of amyloid-beta peptides, small proteins that form plaques in the brain. Many researchers believe the accumulation of these plaques is the root cause of Alzheimer's disease, although this theory is not universally accepted, according to Forbes.

If all goes well, this type of treatment might be available for people in six or seven years, he said.

Scientists estimate that as many as 4.5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia. The illness, named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German doctor who studied it in 1906, involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language,  Boston Globe reports.

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