Pre-Clinical Vaccine Targets Nerve Cell Plaques, Slows Down Alzheimer's

The vaccine proved out to be one of the rare shots without an inflammatory side effect on the alzheimer patients.
Deniz Yildiran
A normal brain (left) compared with a brain with Alzheimer’s (right)UCFS

One of the most tragic diseases a human can ever experience is for sure losing all or at least a big part of the memories you've collected throughout your life. As the condition gets worse over the years, it is even harder to hinder. 

However, a new vaccine developed by the researchers from the University of South Florida Health (USF Health), has shown that immunotherapy targeting the neurotoxic forms of peptide amyloid-beta which cause forming plaques between nerve cells, might prevent Alzheimer's disease's from progressing further.

The research on vaccine trials has been published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 


What appears crucial about the new vaccine is that it has the potential of working without inflammatory side effects. As inflammation is a primary symptom of the disease, a side effect of neural inflammation would be like pouring gas on fire, principal investigator Dr. Chuanhai Cao compares

"This therapeutic vaccine uses the body's own immune cells to target the toxic Aβ molecules that accumulate harmfully in the brain," principal investigator Dr. Chuanhai Cao said. "And, importantly, it provides strong immunomodulatory effects without inducing an unwanted, vaccine-associated autoimmune reaction in the aging mice."

 The vaccine was pre-clinically tried on mice which were genetically engineered to adopt cognitive abnormalities as humans did, and the mice were divided into four groups. 

The first group was vaccinated with the E22W42 DC vaccine, the second one was given amyloid-beta peptide to trigger immune cells and the third one was injected with dendritic cells which didn't contain amyloid beta-peptide. The last one was of healthy, and untreated older mice.

Overall, the results turned out quite reliable. The group which was vaccinated with E22W42 DC showed fewer errors of memory than the group with dendritic cells only. What's more, the inflammation levels of the vaccinated group were the same as the untreated group. And the researchers noted that the E22W42 DC vaccine has "little potential for over priming the immune system."

Clinical trials of anti-amyloid treatments were not of success until now -- one of the firsts was suspended in 2002 as it had caused central nervous system inflammation. 

The vaccine is currently until development, which could help boost the immune system of the elderly and prevent the disease from going further. Let's hope that trials will prove 100% successful and the vaccine gets into circulation soon. 


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