Neurodegenerative diseases pose a major burden on health care systems throughout the developed world. Parkinson´s disease is a disease of the elderly, affecting 1.6% of individuals older than 65 years and as such one of the major threats to healthy aging. An estimated 1.6 Million disability adjusted life years (DALY) are lost worldwide due to the disease and the lack of a curative treatment puts enormous psychological and practical strain on patients and their families. The perspective of a disease modifying treatment has the potential to reduce this burden.
A therapeutic vaccine targeting Parkinson’s disease holds the potential to pave the way for healthy aging for the 75000 patients newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year in Europe and a significant proportion of the estimated 1.2 million already living with the disease.
A therapeutic vaccine showing efficacy could have the potential to slow down disease progression and leave patients for extended periods of time at early stages of the disease, where individuals can still lead their independent lives without external help.
Such a vaccine would promote healthy aging for a considerable number of patients without any hope to enjoy their remaining years and would substantially improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Particularly with regards to multiple system atrophy and its comparatively fast disease progression, a disease modifying treatment has the potential to alleviate mortality and morbidity and to reduce the number of lost person years considerably.
Vaccines moreover have a particularly positive cost-effectiveness ratio, as their protection rate is usually high, their benefit/risk ratio is balanced, and they only need to be administered a limited number of times. However it can take up to 12 months until maximal effectiveness via high antibody titers may be achieved. The cost-medical benefits ratio of a therapeutic vaccine is therefore high and unlikely to be met by any other treatment modality currently under development. The expected cost-medical benefits ratio could thus meet public health needs and could, if proven to be effective, contribute to the sustainability of European health care systems as currently no disease modifying therapy is available.
Therapeutic vaccination using AFFITOPE® vaccines could deliver a novel, and cost/risk/benefit effective treatment modality exerting in addition to standard of care symptomatic and potentially disease modification in Parkinson´s disease and multiple system atrophy. This would constitute not only a scientific breakthrough, but would also fundamentally change the management and burden of synucleinopathies.