Nasal vaccine for Alzheimer’s begins human trials

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Alzheimer's, research, clinical trials
Brigham and Women's Hospital

For more than 20 years researchers have been looking for a nasal vaccine for Alzheimer’s. Today Brigham and Women’s Hospital announced it will begin safety and efficacy tests of a nasal vaccine aimed at preventing and slowing Alzheimer’s disease.

Phase I the trial involves just 16 participants aged 60 to 85, all with early onset of Alzheimer’s but otherwise generally healthy. The trial will be overseen by Howard L. Weiner, MD, co-director of the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at the hospital who has led research in this area for the last 20 years.

Patrticipants will receive two doses of the vaccine, the main ingredient of which is Protollin, one week apart. Protollin, which stimulates the immune system, works by activating white blood cells found in the lymph nodes on the sides and back of the neck to migrate towards the brain and in the process trigger the clearance of beta amyloid plaques. “The plaques are one of the hallmarks of AD [Alzheimer’s disease],” the hospital said. It also noted that “Protollin has been found to be safe in other vaccines”.

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Weiner said that “The launch of the first human trial of a nasal vaccine for Alzheimer’s is a remarkable milestone. Over the last two decades, we’ve amassed preclinical evidence suggesting the potential of this nasal vaccine for Alzheimer’s. If clinical trials in humans show that the vaccine is safe and effective, this could represent a non-toxic treatment for people with Alzheimer’s, and it could also be given early to help prevent Alzheimer’s in people at risk.”

“Research in this area has paved the way for us to pursue a whole new avenue for potentially treating not only Alzheimer’s, but also other neurodegenerative diseases,” said Tanuja Chitnis, MD, professor of neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and principal investigator of the trial.

Medical researchers around the world have been working for years to develop new drugs to treat or slow Alzheimer’s, the most common cause of dementia. However most of these experimental drugs although once promising, have not proven effective in trials.



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