Immunology: Vaccination against Alzheimer's?

Table of contents:

Immunology: Vaccination against Alzheimer's?
Immunology: Vaccination against Alzheimer's?

Vaccination against Alzheimer's?

Scientists from Japan and Switzerland have created a DNA vaccine that blocks the formation of amyloid plaques in the brains of mice. These deposits, which are formed from the protein beta-amyloid, are considered typical of Alzheimer's dementia.

A vaccine against Alzheimer's disease had already been developed a few years ago: the immune system was supposed to be stimulated to develop antibodies against the plaques by administering beta-amyloid. While animal experiments had been successful with this, the clinical studies on humans had to be stopped in 2002 because of dangerous meningitis.

Instead of using the protein, the researchers led by Yoh Matsumoto from the Municipal Institute for Neurosciences in Tokyo and Matthias Staufenbiel from the pharmaceutical company Novartis in Basel inject their test animals with pieces of DNA that encode beta-amyloid. This DNA vaccination is intended to stimulate the immune system more gently and thus avoid inflammatory reactions.

In fact, young vaccinated mice with a genetic predisposition to plaque formation developed up to 38.5 percent less plaque than untreated controls. In older rodents that had already developed plaque, the plaque rate was halved.

If the results can be confirmed in monkeys, the researchers hope to start human clinical trials in three years.

Popular topic