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Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive memory loss, spatial disorientation, cognitive dysfunction, and behavioral changes. It is the most common form of dementia, affecting nearly 50 million people worldwide. Findings from a recent study suggest that the bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine, originally developed to provide immunity against tuberculosis and now widely used to treat bladder cancer, may be useful in reducing the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in bladder cancer patients.
A critical element of Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis is neuroinflammation. Previous research has shown that BCG vaccination triggers an immune response that increases systemic IL-2 levels which, in turn, increases the population of neuroprotective T-reg cells. BCG also increases anti-inflammatory cytokines in the brain, thereby reducing neuroinflammation.
The new study involved 1,371 patients (average age, 68 years) with bladder cancer who received various agents as intravesical chemotherapy. Of these patients, 878 received BCG treatment. After a median of eight years of follow-up, those who received the BCG intravesical therapy exhibited a four-fold reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. These findings suggest that BCG vaccine treatment might be useful in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.