Study Shows That Tuberculosis Vaccine Decreases Rates Of Alzheimer's Disease In Individuals With Bladder Cancer
At the moment, from a statistic perspective, 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 extremely critical.
There might be a glimmer of hope now. A research team headed by Dr Hervé Bercovier, Dr Charles Greenblatt and Dr Benjamin Klein at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU)'s Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics has discovered that the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin
, originally developed for tuberculosis
and commonly used to treat bladder cancer
, may also be an effective treatment to prevent Alzheimer
's. They published their findings in PLOS ONE
Lead author Dr Bercovier told Thailand Medical
News, "There's data reaching back to the 1960's 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."
Dr 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% (44 patients) as opposed to 2.4% (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 is significant to note that the researchers have not developed a vaccine
that prevents Alzheimer
's. However, shared Dr 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."
Reference : Ofer N. Gofrit et al. Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) therapy lowers the incidence of Alzheimer's disease in bladder cancer patients, PLOS ONE (2019). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0224433