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An Alzheimer's vaccine?
Date:11/12/2007

Could a new vaccine be the key to stopping Alzheimers disease" A new research study from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) shows that immunization could offer a way to blunt or even prevent the deadly, memory-robbing disease.

OMRF scientists immunized Alzheimers mice with a protein believed to play a key role in the disease-causing process. The mice who received the vaccination showed a significant reduction in the build-up of protein plaques that, when present in the brain for long periods of time, are believed to cause the cell death, memory loss and neurological dysfunction characteristic of Alzheimers.

The immunized mice also showed better cognitive performance than control mice had not received the vaccine.

These results are extremely exciting, said Jordan Tang, Ph.D., the OMRF researcher who led the study. They certainly show that this vaccination approach warrants additional investigation as a therapy for Alzheimers disease.

The new research appears in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

Tang and his colleagues at OMRF previously had identified the cutting enzyme (known as memapsin 2) that creates the protein fragments believed to be the culprit behind Alzheimers. In the current study, researchers used mice that had been genetically engineered to develop symptoms of Alzheimers, then immunized the animals with memapsin 2.

What we saw is that the mice immunized with memapsin 2 developed 35 percent fewer plaques than their non-vaccinated counterparts, said Tang. Those immunized mice also performed better than control mice in tests designed to assess their cognitive function.

Tangs work with memapsin 2 also has led to the creation of an experimental drug to treat Alzheimers disease. That drug, which works by inhibiting the cutting enzyme, began human clinical trials in the summer of 2007.

Tang emphasized that the vaccine approach sh
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Contact: Adam Cohen
adam-cohen@omrf.org
405-271-7159
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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