If 2021 will be recalled as the year for COVID-19 vaccines, perhaps 2022 will make its mark with a different kind of life-changing vaccine: an Alzheimer’s vaccine that can slow or prevent the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
The very first human trial of Protollin, delivered by way of nasal spray, is underway in 16 seniors between the ages of 60 and 85 with early-stage Alzheimer’s symptoms. The predicted outcome is to activate immune cells that will eliminate 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 at first seemed to fail in its goal of improving memory and cognition functioning, leading Biogen to discontinue clinical trials. However, several months later, there did seem to be a beneficial impact in a small group of participants, leading the FDA to approve its use – even if the results are not definitively clear.
Finding an effective treatment or preventative option is vitally important. The latest data show approximately 6 million Americans currently identified as having the disease. It’s also one of the leading causes of death in adults in the United States, with a steep incline in mortality rate of 88% between 1999 and 2019. And that figure might only be scratching the surface because it represents only those clinically diagnosed. We all know that people with cognitive impairment may have trouble with receiving an appropriate diagnosis, and they often are challenged by other medical 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.”
Our senior caregivers are helping older adults with Alzheimer’s every day, and we excitedly anticipate a point in the future when the disease is defeated. Until then, we’re here for you with creative, personalized care in order to make life the very best it can be for seniors with dementia.
It’s also very important for loved ones 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 want. We’re skilled in effective management of many difficult signs of the disease, including wandering, agitation, aggression, sundowning, and others.