London: The scientists have developed a new vaccine of Alzheimer which is proved to be effective not only in stopping but also reversing the damage caused to the brain by the mind-robbing condition.

Although it would not be a full-proof cure, the researchers behind the new vaccine said it is one of the biggest potential breakthroughs in years in the search for Alzheimer's treatments.

Existing drugs can delay the progress of Alzheimer's, but their failure to tackle the underlying cause in the brain means that their effect quickly wears off and the disease soon takes its devastating course.

In contrast, the vaccine which is being tested on more than 10,000 patients, found to be effective in preventing or even reversing the build-up of amyloid, the toxic protein that clogs the brain in Alzheimer's, destroying vital connections between cells.

The development of tests which can detect Alzheimer’s in its earliest stages would allow the jab to be given at the first possible opportunity, the researchers said.

This would enable it to save thousands from the most devastating effects of the incurable disease, which leaves sufferers unable to walk, talk and even swallow.

Although vaccines are traditionally thought of as preventing disease, Bapineuzumab is designed as a treatment.

Dr David Wilkinson from Southampton University’s Memory Assessment and Research Centre said, "Hopefully the vaccine will make a big difference to Alzheimer’s treatment.

If it can clear amyloid plaques from the brain and we can give it very early in the disease process, it may prevent some of the damage."

The three drug firms behind the vaccine, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Elan Corporation, are expected to seek marketing approval when testing is completed towards the end of next year.  

However, experts stress that there is no guarantee the vaccine will work for everybody.
Dr Wilkinson’s own research shows that getting rid of the amyloid plaques does not always prevent the disease.

Dr Simon Ridley, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said that the vaccine could be a significant breakthrough if further trials show it not only clears brain deposits but also prevents dementia.