One in eight Americans will fall prey to Alzheimer's disease at some point in their life, current statistics say. Because Alzheimer's is associated with vascular damage in the brain, many of them will succumb through a painful and potentially fatal stroke.
But researchers led by Dr. Dan Frenkel of Tel Aviv University's Department of Neurobiology at the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences are working on a nasally-delivered 2-in-1 vaccine that promises to protect against both Alzheimer's and stroke. The new vaccine repairs vascular damage in the brain by rounding up "troops" from the body's own immune system.
And in addition to its prophylactic effect, it can work even when Alzheimer's symptoms are already present. The research on this new technology was recently accepted for publication in the journal Neurobiology of Aging.
A natural way to fight Alzheimer's
"Using part of a drug that was previously tested as an influenza drug, we've managed to successfully induce an immune response against amyloid proteins in the blood vessels," says Dr. Frenkel, who collaborated on this project with Prof. Howard L. Weiner of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School. "In early pre-clinical studies, we've found it can prevent both brain tissue damage and restore cognitive impairment," he adds.
Modifying a vaccine technology owned by Glaxo Smith Kline, a multinational drug company, Tel Aviv University's new therapeutic approach activates a natural mechanism in our bodies that fights against vascular damage in the brain.
The vaccine, Dr. Frenkel explains, activates macrophages large proteins in the body that swallow foreign antigens. When the vaccine activates large numbers of these macrophages, they clear away the damaging build-up of waxy amyloid proteins in our brain's vascular system.
Animal models showed that once these proteins are cleared from the brain, further damage can be pr
|Contact: George Hunka|
American Friends of Tel Aviv University