Scientists believe that a potent Alzheimer's vaccine jab could be the secret to preventing the disease developing from its early stages.
Researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington found that an antibody for Alzheimer's disease is more likely to trigger inflammation in the brain the later it is given and that it could potentially be prevented, as long as the vaccine is taken during the very early stages of the disease.
The study suggests that by giving vaccines to patients before tell-tale signs of Alzheimer's set in, it could halt the formation of the debilitating disease.
American scientists found that the PFA1 vaccine could help patients with lower levels of the toxic amyloid protein (which builds up over time in Alzheimer's sufferers), as it proved successful when the vaccine was tested on lab rats. Animals with large amounts of amyloid protein were more likely to suffer from brain inflammation.
Although the tests have only taken place on lab rats so far, researchers are hoping that their findings will one day eradicate Alzheimer's disease. Scientists just need to develop a general vaccine and discover an accurate way of detecting early signs of the disease.
"Excessive inflammation is counter-productive because it will limit the benefits of the vaccine treatment, and in a few cases, will cause new problems," says lead researcher, Dr. R. Scott Turner.
"We may find that in the future, we will have to tailor immunisation therapies based on amyloid burden in individual patients," Dr. Turner added.
Dementia affects 820,000 people in the UK and 25 million of the UK population have a close friend or family member with dementia.