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Medical News & Perspectives
September 27, 2000

Promising Vaccine Treatment for Alzheimer Disease Found

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JAMA. 2000;284(12):1503-1505. doi:10.1001/jama.284.12.1503-JMN0927-3-1

Washington—Excitement at the World Alzheimer Congress 2000 centered on the announcement that a phase 1 study of a vaccine that may be used to treat and perhaps prevent the progression of Alzheimer disease (AD) has begun in the United States and United Kingdom.

As became clear from more than 1000 technical reports and reviews presented during the congress, the vaccine approach could not have come this far without many previous studies of the pathogenesis of what still remains a puzzling disorder with no effective treatment. "The really exciting stuff was reported over the past few years, as a result of the identification of the causative genes involved in the inherited form of AD—amyloid precursor protein [APP], presenilin 1, and presenilin 2—were clarified," said Donald Price, MD, professor of pathology, neurology, and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in an interview. "What we are seeing now is the fruit of this work. Investigators have taken advantage of the information from these genetic studies and have applied them to making genetically engineered models and studying the disease mechanisms. This is leading to new approaches to therapies."