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The World in Medicine
November 13, 2002

Alzheimer Disease Vaccine

JAMA. 2002;288(18):2257. doi:10.1001/jama.288.18.2257

Last January, a trial of a promising experimental vaccine for Alzheimer disease (AD) was discontinued because the vaccine caused brain inflammation in some participants. Now, new findings published in the online edition of Nature Medicine by two groups of researchers provide evidence that the concept underlying the vaccine is promising, and that it may be possible to modify the vaccine to make it safer.

Researchers in Zurich, Switzerland, took a closer look at 24 of the people who had received the vaccine (http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nm783). They found that the patients produced antibodies that can cross the blood-brain barrier and target amyloid-β (A-β) protein present in tangles, diffuse deposits, and in blood vessels in the brain. Such action would be necessary for clearance of this protein, which accumulates in the brains of patient with AD.

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