"Previous Alzheimer's vaccines were
protein-based," said Dr. Baoxi Qu, the study's lead author and
assistant professor in the Center for Biomedical Inventions and
internal medicine. "We wanted to try a DNA-based genetic vaccine
instead to see if we could enhance the immune response."
Although prior studies of amyloid protein vaccination had shown some
slowing in the plaque buildup, negative side effects also occurred in a
handful of patients. Some had autoimmune responses that caused
The key in the UT Southwestern study was finding another way to
vaccinate patients without stimulating the body's own immune cytotoxic
T cells, said Dr. Roger Rosenberg, a study author and director of the
Alzheimer's Disease Center.
"This dilemma was discussed with my colleagues, and we decided to try
vaccination with an amyloid gene, rather than the amyloid protein
vaccine," said Dr. Rosenberg.
The UT Southwestern researchers vaccinated mice with a "gene gun." The
gene gun and gene-vaccination technologies were invented by Dr. Stephen
Albert Johnston, director of the Center for Biomedical Inventions and
senior author of the latest study.
"We have been developing ways to use gene-immunization to manipulate
the immune response," Dr. Johnston said. "This study was the first step
to see if we can apply these techni