A drug that halts Alzheimer's disease could be just years away from widespread use, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

If the vaccine — which would be delivered by shot — is successful, it would prevent people from reaching the final stages of the illness, at which point a person loses the ability to walk, talk and sometimes even swallow. Patients usually end up totally dependent on others.

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Alzheimer's debilitates people by building up a sticky plaque made of protein in the brain, destroying connections between brain cells. A series of these vaccine shots would produce antibodies that would destroy that plaque.

Current drugs can help delay progress of the illness, but are not completely effective and still allow the disease to run its course. Also, they do not work on everyone.

The new treatment is thought of as being able to permanently hold the disease at bay. It is now being tested on patients and could be in use in as little as six years.