Tuberculosis vaccine may reduce Alzheimer’s risk by 20%

A vial of BCG vaccine is placed on top of a pack of remaining vialsShare on Pinterest
A vial of BCG vaccine is seen at the investigational clinic at Sir Charles Gardner Hospital in Perth, Australia, April 20, 2020.Paul Kane/Getty Images
  • The Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine has been used for over 80 years to combat tuberculosis.
  • In the 1970s, it was found to be an effective immunotherapy against early-stage bladder cancer.
  • Since then, it has become one of the standard treatments for this cancer, given directly to the bladder.
  • Studies have found that this therapy may have beneficial side effects. People taking this therapy appear to have a reduced risk of developing dementia.

according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Approximately 57,000 men and 18,000 women are diagnosed with bladder cancer each year in the United States. And each year, about 12,000 men and 4,700 women die from the disease in the United States.

The risk of bladder cancer increases with age.around it 90% The proportion of people diagnosed is over 55 years old, with an average age at diagnosis of 73 years. Smoking greatly increases risk, and a smoker is at least three times more likely to develop bladder cancer than a nonsmoker.

At diagnosis, half of all bladder cancers are non-invasive and cancer cells reside only in the lining of the bladder wall. A common treatment for this early-stage cancer is intravesical immunotherapy with bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG).

BCG is a nonpathogenic bacterium similar to the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB).it was Developed in 1921 It has long been used as a vaccine against tuberculosis. 80 years. It is now used less frequently to prevent tuberculosis in developed countries than it used to be, but is still widely used in countries where tuberculosis is endemic.

However, since the 1970s it has been successfully used for: Treating early-stage bladder cancer. When the catheter introduces BCG through the bladder, it induces immune cells to attack cancer cells.

Now, new research has found that this treatment is associated with beneficial side effects. Patients receiving treatment had a reduced risk of dementia and death compared with those receiving alternative treatments.

This research JAMA network open.

“This is a very interesting study and a promising approach to further potential therapeutic mechanisms in dementia.”
— Dr. Emer MacSweeney, CEO and Consultant Neuroradiologist at Re:Cognition Health, said: medical news today

Dr. Heather Snyder, vice president of medical and scientific relations for the Alzheimer’s Association, which funded the study, commented:

“Researchers found that BCG vaccination was associated with reduced incidence and risk of dementia in the majority of older adults with bladder cancer. This is consistent with what we have seen in previous studies linking cognition with

“The rationale is that this vaccine, which induces innate immune training, could help reduce brain inflammation, a driving factor in Alzheimer’s disease,” she said.

At entry, all study participants were over 50 years old, with a mean age of 70.3 years, and were diagnosed with non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC).All participants received Initial transurethral bladder tumor resection (TURBT) Post-diagnosis.

A total of 6,467 NMIBC patients participated in this 15-year follow-up study. Of these, 3,388 were treated with BCG vaccine and 3,079 were not. BCG and control groups were similar in terms of gender, age, race, ethnicity and comorbidities.

During follow-up, researchers documented dementia if participants were diagnosed with ICD-9 or ICD-10 dementia or were prescribed medications specifically for dementia treatment.

202 developed dementia in the BCG group and 262 developed dementia in the control group. Overall, the person treated with BCG had a 20% lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia.

This effect was most pronounced in participants aged 70 years and older, with even greater differences in dementia risk between the BCG and non-BCG groups. There was no association in the younger subcohort.

The researchers alsoe The BCG group had a 25% lower risk of death from any cause during follow-up than the control group.

“A 20% reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease may sound modest, but for families with Alzheimer’s disease who survived the disaster, the value is invaluable.”
— said Dr. David Merrill, a geriatric psychiatrist and director of the Pacific Brain Health Center at the Pacific Neuroscience Institute in Santa Monica, California. MNT

Dr. Merrill said MNT The study does not prove a causal link between the BCG vaccine and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

“If we can better understand which patients can benefit from BCG vaccination to protect their brains from Alzheimer’s disease, we can target vaccination to those susceptible people,” he said. rice field.

“Perhaps we will be able to identify one or more immune markers that predict the protective effect of vaccination. You have to,” he added.

The authors point out some limitations of this observational study, including that diagnostic codes and drug use may underestimate the incidence of dementia.

They also noted that frail patients were less likely to receive BCG treatment and more likely to develop dementia, possibly making patients in the control group more likely to receive a diagnosis of dementia. ing.

“Limitations include a study design that can only prove association, not causation. Additionally, the study was conducted in a predominantly white male population. The same association exists in all individuals.” Studies in more diverse populations are needed to determine whether
— Dr. Heather Snyder

the study Many routine immunizations for adults have been shown to be associated with a reduced risk of dementia. Although this may be due to socioeconomic factors, people following lifestyles associated with lower dementia risk are more likely to stay up to date with vaccinations, although this association may have physiological reasons.

One study suggests that vaccination may train the immune system to respond to threats in a more regulated manner, thereby reducing inflammation and oxidative stress that contribute to the development of dementia. It has been.

Dr. Max Sweeney outlined how the BCG vaccine could reduce dementia risk.

“Because BCG treatment stimulates the immune system, it can also have broader effects on overall health. There is evidence to suggest that it may contribute to the development of

However, the study authors point out that there is not yet enough evidence to prove a causal link and call for “well-designed interventional trials” to clarify that link.

“Based on this study, which was funded by the Alzheimer’s Association’s Part the Cloud Program, this research group investigated the effects of the BCG vaccine on inflammatory markers in individuals with mild or early cognitive impairment. We are also actively conducting early-stage clinical trials to evaluate ”-stage Alzheimer’s disease. This trial is an important next step to determine whether BCG vaccination has a direct impact on brain inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease. ”
— Dr. Heather Snyder

This finding is certainly a positive step towards effective dementia prevention and treatment. Still, there is still work to be done to understand how it works and who benefits most.

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