Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Alzheimer's Vaccine Gets Second Wind

New Clues Point to Safer Vaccine, Effective Treatment

continued...

McLaurin says it looks like the small segment of amyloid protein attacked by anti-Aß4-10 antibodies may be the main troublemaker in Alzheimer's disease. This target appears to be essential for amyloid to self-assemble into plaque.

"The theory -- and I stress that this is only a theory -- is that the anti-Aß4-10 antibody targets an amyloid assembly product, and by pricking out this one product you stop neuronal loss," McLaurin tells WebMD.

It may be that using Aß4-10 as a vaccine would be safer and as effective as the previous version of the Elan vaccine. On the other hand, Nitsch says, it might be better to treat patients with antibody itself -- a strategy known as passive immunization. Or it might be possible to give the vaccine along with drugs to prevent brain inflammation.

McLaurin's team is working on another approach. They're looking for a small molecule that mimics anti-Aß4-10 antibodies. The hope is that such a drug would be small enough to penetrate the brain and stop Alzheimer's disease cold in its tracks. And since people vary enormously in their response to vaccines, an anti-Aß4-10-like drug likely would work for more patients.

What kind of hope does this offer for people who have Alzheimer's disease today? McLaurin warns that research is still in its early stages, but she holds out hope that this approach might work.

"Someone who has florid Alzheimer's disease right now is probably too far along," she says. "But someone in the early stages of the disease has potential to be in clinical trials that will come along. Potentially it will halt the disease -- but it won't bring back anything that they have lost."-->

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

alzheimer's disease warning signs
ARTICLE
Alzheimers Overview
SLIDESHOW
 
Best Memory Boosting Games
ARTICLE
mri scan of human brain
QUIZ
 
senior man
ARTICLE
daughter and father
ARTICLE
 
Making Diagnosis
Article
Colored mri of brain
ARTICLE
 
Close up of elderly couple holding hands
VIDEO
senior woman with lost expression
ARTICLE
 
Woman comforting ailing mother
ARTICLE
Alzheimers Dementia
ARTICLE