Alzheimer┤s disease is a progressive brain disorder named after Alois Alzheimer, a german neurologist who first described the symptoms and neuropathological features in 1907.
Alzheimer┤s disease affects memory and mental functions and can also lead to confusion, disorientation and frequent mood changes. During disease progression symptoms increase in severity and subsequently interfere with a patients work and social life. Alzheimer┤s is a terminal disease causing overall deterioration including not only the brain but also the immune system. As a consequence most of the patients die due to pneumonia or other infectious diseases.
Alzheimer┤s disease is the most common dementia (50-70% of all known cases for dementia) and the risk to develop Alzheimer┤s disease increases dramatically with age reaching from 2% of people at the age of 65 up to 30% by the age of 85. There are however also genetic risk factors beside age. These genetic alterations can lead to a manifestation of Alzheimer┤s below the age of 40.
It is currently believed that the main cause of Alzheimer┤s disease is the formation of amyloid deposits and tangles in the brain. These alterations subsequently lead to the symptoms and pathological alterations typical for Alzheimer┤s.
Currently no effective treatment is available to stop the progressive neurodegeneration in these patients. There are however strong efforts made to find better ways of treatment for this disease. One of the most promising novel strategies as exemplified by the MimoVax and AFFITOPE® appoaches, will use immunotherapy aiming to stop or revert progression of Alzheimer┤s disease.