A FREE national cyber-safety helpline number has been launched, which anyone who suffers a threat to their online security can ring. The three-digit number is also for reporting internet fraud, phishing, hack attacks or...
Vaccination against Alzheimer's developed in Aragón being tested on humans
By thinkSPAIN Team Sun, Mar 2, 2014
A VACCINATION against Alzheimer's has reached the clinical trials stage and could one day prevent the pain of seeing a friend or relative facing this devastating degenerative disease.
A biotechnology company in Zaragoza, Araclon Biotech – a holding of the multinational Grifols – has developed a very advanced early-diagnosis test and, after trying out a vaccination created in response to those who test positive on rats and mice, has started testing it on human patients.
Five have so far been vaccinated out of a total of 24 at a clinic in Barcelona, the ACE Foundation, in a trial coordinated by Dr Merce Boada.
All 24 patients will be monitored to check tolerance levels to the injection over a period of 18 months – ending in around June 2015 – but it will take much longer to ascertain whether the vaccination does indeed slow down the process of Alzheimer's.
Araclon Biotech's scientific director, Manuel Sarasa, says the key is in prevention rather than cure, which he believes will always be impossible.
Of the 24 human guinea pigs, 16 are in the very early stages of Alzheimer's and another eight will be given a placebo drug instead of the tested vaccination.
Over the next two years or so, varying doses of the vaccination will be experimented with based upon whether or not it has managed to stimulate the immune system, and procedures will be developed – Dr Sarasa believes this will include the vaccine being used on people who as yet show no signs of Alzheimer's in order to prevent them developing it, although it is expected to be used with those who have already begun to suffer the condition to slow the process.
A further period of testing and monitoring will take at least three years, meaning it will be around the middle of the year 2020 at the earliest when it is known whether humans really can be innoculated against this debilitating condition – one which is even greater in terms of suffering for friends and family and for carers than even the patient.
But Dr Sarasa says the aim of the company – which works on developing new therapies and diagnostic methods for all types of neurodegenerative illnesses, not just Alzheimer's – is to wipe out the condition altogether, although he says this needs 'everyone's help' to achieve.
By 'everyone', Dr Sarasa means scientists, doctors, pharmacists, associations, health authorities and politicians.
The discovery of the vaccination was a 'great and important day' since the company has been working on it since it opened in 2004, suffering numerous delays and setbacks because of lack of funding due to the financial crisis.
It has only been possible to reach this stage thanks to various 'angels', says Dr Sarasa, including Víctor Grifols, CEO of the global company bearing his surname based in Barcelona, which acquired 60 per cent of Araclon Biotech's shares when it was about to go into receivership and make several redundancies.
The new headquarters of the firm uses the most pioneering technology in Europe, and has a microscope and molecular biology laboratory, as well as dedicated centres for cell-harvesting, immunology and mass spectrometry.
A total of 28 professional scientists work there, researching conditions such as Parkinson's and the 'tiredness disease' Fibromyalgia.
You may also be interested in ...
More Technology/Science content
SPANISH-MADE technology will be used for the next mission to Mars, planned for 2020, in what will be a huge year for national science – especially for researchers based in Valladolid (Castilla y León). Two unmanned...
A GLOBAL study on anti-depressant use in which Spain took part has shown that these highly-prescribed drugs are, in fact, safe, even long-term. Published in the journal , the investigation is 'without doubt the most...
AS WELL as being world-famous for possessing one of the top public health services on earth and perpetual number one globally for transplant operations per inhabitant, Spain is also home to – and the birthplace of –...