Gene vaccine for Alzheimers disease shows promising results
UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas researchers have found a way of stimulating the immune systems of mice to fight against amyloid proteins that cause the devastating plaques that are characteristic of Alzheimers disease.
For years scientists have examined the possibility of using a protein-based vaccine to slow the progression of the disease in its early stages. UT Southwestern researchers have created a gene-based vaccine aimed at stimulating the immune systems of mice to potentially fight off plaque-causing amyloid protein in the brain.
Their findings appear in todays issue of the Archives of Neurology.
"Previous Alzheimers vaccines were protein-based," said Dr. Baoxi Qu, the studys 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 encephalitis.
The key in the UT Southwestern study was finding another way to vaccinate patients without stimulating the bodys own immune cytotoxic T cells, said Dr. Roger Rosenberg, a study author and director of the Alzheimers 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 techniques to create a safe and effective Alzheimers vaccine." Said Dr. Rosenberg: "When we vaccinated the mice with the mouse form of the amyloid gene, they made lots of antibodies without stimulating cytotoxic T cells. When we get to human studies, we hope to show that humans can make human antibodies against the amyloid as well."
Current treatments for Alzheimers disease focus on the symptoms since no therapies have been clinically proven to slow or prevent progression of the disease. Amyloid protein deposits are present in the early phase of the disease – a fact that suggests a gene vaccination would be a step forward in slowing the progression of dementia.
From the mouse studies and in previous clinical trials of patients with Alzheimers disease, immunization with amyloids slowed the buildup of plaque on the brain and appeared to slow cognitive loss. "Although human clinical trials are still at least two years out, theoretically, we are on the right track," he said.
Other UT Southwestern authors involved in the study were Dr. Liping Li, a research fellow in the Center for Biomedical Inventions; and Dr. Philip Boyer, assistant professor of pathology.
Katherine Morales | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.
Graphene is up to the job
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
New technique promises tunable laser devices
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...