A South Australian researcher who has developed a potential vaccine for dementia said that it could be on the market within five years.
Nikolai Petrovsky, a professor in endocrinology at SA’s Flinders University, told News Corp Australia that his “revolutionary” vaccine, which was developed with funding from the U.S. government, has progressed from animal testing to human trials.
“The work leading up to this has been going on for 20 years, this is not the start of the journey, it’s the end,” he said.
“We know Alzheimer’s disease is a big problem and we know it will get bigger as our population ages.
“This vaccine could be revolutionary. It’s not something that will be available tomorrow, but it’s an exciting step in the right direction.”
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), dementia is the second biggest cause of death in all Australians and the number one cause in women.
Dementia Australia projects that 590,000 Australians will be afflicted with dementia by 2028 — an increase of more than 100,000 from 2019.
Petrovsky said that his vaccine allows antibodies to detect and digest clumps on the brain that cause dementia, not only preventing but also reversing its development.
He said that the vaccine moving on to human trials was the cause for celebration in itself.
“That was a big hurdle,” he said. “Millions of researchers make claims of a cure (for different diseases) in animals but only a fraction get to the human trial stage. And that’s mainly because it’s expensive.”
“The difference here is that the project has the backing of the U.S. government so it has the resources to move this along,” he added.