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Scientists find Tuberculosis vaccine lowers rate of Alzheimer's disease in cancer patients


Currently, Alzheimer's affects one-in-ten adults over the age of 65 -- a number that is expected to triple by 2030. The need to find a cure is great. In the backdrop of the following facts, researchers have developed a TB vaccine that lowers rates of Alzheimer's disease in cancer patients.
Now there may be a glimmer of hope. A research team headed by Herve Bercovier, Charles Greenblatt and Benjamin Klein at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU)'s Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics has discovered that the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine, originally developed for tuberculosis and commonly used to treat bladder cancer, may also be an effective treatment to prevent Alzheimer's. The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
"There's data reaching back to the 1960s that shows that countries treating bladder cancer patients with the BCG vaccine had a lower prevalence of Alzheimer's disease but it hadn't been properly analyzed," shared lead author Bercovier.
Until now Bercovier and his team followed 1,371 bladder cancer patients receiving treatment at HU's Hadassah Medical Center. The average patient age was 68. During follow-up visits, 65 cancer patients had developed Alzheimer's.
Those who had not received BCG as part of their treatment had a significantly higher risk of developing Alzheimer's than did BCG-treated patients: 8.9 per cent (44 patients) as opposed to 2.4 per cent(21). Further, when compared with the general (healthy) population, people who had never been treated with BCG had a 4-fold higher risk for developing Alzheimer's than did those who were treated with BCG.
It's important to note that the researchers have not developed a vaccine that prevents Alzheimer's. However, shared Bercovier, "our study is an important step towards understanding the ways in which our immune system is a major player in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's and how the BCG vaccine, which modulates the immune system, may serve as an effective preventative treatment to this crippling condition.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

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First Published: Dec 27 2019 | 8:50 PM IST

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