Vaccine Against Alzheimer’s Protein Slows Disease Progression In Mice
Promise for future immunization in people targeting the tau protein
December 9, 2011
Source:University of Sydney
Researchers at the University of Sydney's Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI) have developed a vaccine that slows the progression of Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia in mice designed to show features of these diseases, according to results of a study published December 9 in the scientific journal PLoS ONE.
The vaccine, which targets a protein known as tau, prevents the ongoing formation of neurofibrillary tangles in the brains of these mice. The tau protein also is involved in frontotemporal dementia.
"Most of the other vaccines targeting tau were tested only before or around the onset of the disease in animal models. Our study is the first to show that a vaccine targeting the tau protein can be effective once the disease has already set in," Lars Ittner, a senior research fellow and BMRI group leader said.
Rather than clearing existing tangles, the vaccine appears to slow the development of further tangles, Ittner said. The exact mechanism involved is not yet understood, he said.
BMRI already has begun working with U.S.-based pharmaceutical firms to develop it for human use, Ittner added.
It is estimated that there were 35.6 million people living with dementia worldwide in 2010, and this will increase to 65.7 million by 2030 and 115.4 million by 2050.
View the original journal article.
Adapted from the University of Sydney
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