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.
Stephenson J. Alzheimer Disease Vaccine. JAMA. 2002;288(18):2257. doi:10.1001/jama.288.18.2257