Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts., Will soon begin Phase 1 trials of a nasal alzheimer vaccine designed to prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), according to a press release. This is the first time that a nasal vaccine has been tried against the disease, which affects more than 6 million people in the United States alone.
First seen in a patient as early as 1906 by Dr Alois Alzheimer, the disease is a brain disordere characterized by the presence of clumps (amyloid plaques) & tangled fibers (tau tangles) between nerve cells (neurons) in brain. Symptoms of disease, which is typically seen in adults in their 60s, ranges from memory problems to vision loss & even impaired reasoning.
The cause of the disease has long been questioned and it was only recently that researchers believed they had found the root. The research for a cure has been going on for decades, but most interventions aim to reduce the severity of symptoms. The vaccine to be tested aims to change this.
Nasal Alzheimer Vaccine Trail
Howard L. Weiner, co-director of a center that studies neurological diseases in Brigham, has studied the development of AD for over 20 years. Previous studies have shown that the body’s immune cells play a role in removing amyloid plaques from brain. Therefore, researchers use an immune modulator called Protollin to boost the immune system & remove plaques.
Protollin is an intranasal agent derived from the mixture of specific cellular components of different bacteria and is already used as an adjuvant, to generate a greater immune response for other vaccines. The researchers hope that by triggering the immune system, especially the white blood cells from lymph node located in neck region, the vaccine will also clear the plaques in AD patients too.
The study will include 16 participants aged 60 & 85 years who were diagnosed with symptomatic AD at an early stage, according to the press release. Study participants will receive two doses of the vaccine, one week apart. The main objective of the study is to determine whether the vaccine is safe and can be tolerated at the intended doses. If successful, the same treatment modality could be used for other neurodegenerative diseases, according to the press release.
Interestingly, another possible treatment & vaccine strategy for AD was released earlier this month & will move to human trials soon.