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Vaccine triggers immune response, prevents Alzheimer's
Date:5/19/2008

. Prior to the start of the vaccine study, the mice were trained to navigate a maze using spatial clues. They were then tested periodically during the 10-month study on the amount of time and distance traveled to an escape pod and the number of errors made along the way.

What we found exciting was that by targeting one pathology of Alzheimers amyloid beta we were able to also prevent the transition of tau from its normal form to a form found in the disease state, Bowers said.

The goal of the vaccine is to prompt the immune system to recognize amyloid beta protein and remove it. To create the vaccine, Bowers and the research group use a herpes virus that is stripped of the viral genes that can cause disease or harm. They then load the virus container with the genetic code for amyloid beta and interleukin-4, a protein that stimulates immune responses involving type 2 T helper cells, which are lymphocytes that play an important role in the immune system.

The research group tested several versions of a vaccine. Mice were given three injections of empty virus alone, a vaccine carrying only the amyloid beta genetic code, or a vaccine encoding both amyloid beta and interlueikin-4, which was found to be the most effective.

We have learned a great deal from this ongoing project, Bowers said. Importantly, it has demonstrated the combined strengths of the gene delivery platform and the immune shaping concept for the creation of customized vaccines for Alzheimers disease, as well as a number of other diseases. We are currently working on strategies we believe can make the vaccine even safer.

Bowers expects the vaccine eventually to be tested in people, but due to the number of studies required to satisfy regulatory requirements, it could be three or more years before human trials testing this type of Alzheimers vaccine occur.


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Contact: Michael Wentzel
Michael_Wentzel@urmc.rochester.edu
585-275-1309
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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