OMRF scientists immunized Alzheimer’s 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 Alzheimer’s.
The immunized mice also showed better cognitive performance than control mice that 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 Alzheimer’s 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 Alzheimer’s. In the current study, researchers used mice that had been genetically engineered to develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s, 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.”
Tang’s work with memapsin 2 also has led to the creation of an experimental drug to treat Alzheimer’s 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 should be viewed as a supplement to—rather than substitute for—the experimental inhibitor and other treatments currently in development for the illness.
“Alzheimer’s is a complicated, multi-faceted disease,” said the OMRF researcher. “As with illnesses like cancer and heart disease, Alzheimer’s demands that we develop many different approaches to combat it. We cannot rely on a 'one-size-fits-all' strategy, because what works in one patient will not necessarily work in another.”
A vaccination approach—getting the immune system to clean up the plaques—has been considered a promising way to tackle the disease, but its success has been limited. In 2002, for example, the pharmaceutical company Elan halted trials of a different vaccine after 15 patients suffered swelling of the central nervous system.
OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D., is hopeful that Tang’s work will avoid the pitfalls that beset Elan’s vaccine. “This vaccination stimulates the immune system more gently than previous Alzheimer’s vaccines, so we are optimistic about its prospects going forward,” he said. “Once again, Dr. Tang has found an innovative way to make inroads against a devastating and poorly understood disease.”
The next step, said Tang, will be to progress the work to the point that it can be tested in humans. “There currently is no effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, so we must explore every possible option to find a way to stop it,” he said.
The research was supported, in part, by a grant from the Alzheimer’s Association.
“The Alzheimer’s Association is pleased to provide funding for innovative work such as this to develop possible new therapies for Alzheimer's,” said William Thies, Ph.D., vice president for Medical & Scientific Relations at the Alzheimer’s Association. “It is important to encourage imaginative researchers to test unconventional strategies, as Dr. Tang has done here. We face an overwhelming epidemic of Alzheimer's and dementia if we don't change the current unsatisfactory situation by greatly improving early detection, treatment and prevention.”
Adam Cohen | EurekAlert!
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
Urbanization to convert 300,000 km2 of prime croplands
27.12.2016 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration
"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...
Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.
Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
16.01.2017 | Information Technology
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering