One step closer to Alzheimer’s vaccine?
A team of researchers in Quebec may have found a way to prompt the brain’s own defense mechanisms to fight Alzheimer’s disease.
As Alzheimer’s disease develops, a toxic molecule called amyloid beta begins to attack the brain. For some reason, microglial cells – the brain’s natural defense against toxins like this – do not attack the amyloid beta molecules. As the amyloid beta molecules spread, plaque begins to form on the brain, causing cognitive decline.
Researchers found that the molecule monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL) actually spurs the microglial cells into action against the amyloid beta. In a study of MPL, mice with Alzheimer’s disease symptoms that were injected with MPL once a week for 12 weeks had an 80 percent reduction in plaque caused by amyloid beta.
MPL injections have been safely used on humans for other purposes for many years.