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Researchers have been on a quest to find a vaccine for a Alzheimer’s disease and recent studies suggest that they may be close to a solution and possibly just years away from human testing.

William Bowers, associate professor of neurology, microbiology, and immunology, University of Rochester Medical Center, believes he and his co-workers have demonstrated a way to create a potent, but safe, version of a vaccine that causes an immune response that prevents Alzheimer’s disease and memory deficits.

Mice, genetically engineered to develop Alzheimer’s, were given a vaccine that caused the immune system to target amyloid beta proteins–considered to be the cause for Alzheimer’s disease. Previous to the 10-month study the mice were trained to navigate through a maze. During the study the mice were timed on how long it took to successfully get to the maze’s exit. The maze test results excited researchers because it indicated their vaccine was able to prompt the immune system to successfully remove amyloid beta before it mutated into the Alzheimer’s disease causing form.

A number of studies will be needed to meet regulatory requirements before the vaccine can be tested on humans, which is expected to take at least 3 years.