Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health
Vaccine Plus Stroke Prevention in a Nasal Spray?
Aviv University researchers
develop a vaccine they think will stave off stroke as well Alzheimer’s
Feb. 28, 2011 -
One in eight Americans – almost all of them senior citizens - will fall prey to
Alzheimer's disease, current statistics indicate. Because Alzheimer's is
associated with vascular damage in the brain, many of them will succumb
through a painful and potentially fatal stroke. The odds may improve,
however, if researchers succeed with their new nasal spray.
by Dr. Dan Frenkel of Tel Aviv University's Department of Neurobiology
at the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences are working on a
nasally-delivered 2-in-1 vaccine that promises to protect against both
Alzheimer's and stroke. The new vaccine repairs vascular damage in the
brain by rounding up "troops" from the body's own immune system.
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Feb. 27, 2011
Hearing Loss in Senior Citizens Once Again Linked
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Risk of developing
Alzheimer's disease also increased with hearing loss - for every 10
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Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health
And, in addition
to its prophylactic effect, it can work even when Alzheimer's symptoms
are already present. The research on this new technology was recently
accepted for publication in the journal Neurobiology of Aging.
A natural way
to fight Alzheimer's
"Using part of a
drug that was previously tested as an influenza drug, we've managed to
successfully induce an immune response against amyloid proteins in the
blood vessels," says Dr. Frenkel, who collaborated on this project with
Prof. Howard L. Weiner of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical
School. "In early pre-clinical studies, we've found it can prevent both
brain tissue damage and restore cognitive impairment," he adds.
vaccine technology owned by Glaxo Smith Kline, a multinational drug
company, Tel Aviv University's new therapeutic approach activates a
natural mechanism in our bodies that fights against vascular damage in
The vaccine, Dr.
Frenkel explains, activates macrophages — large proteins in the body
that swallow foreign antigens. When the vaccine activates large numbers
of these macrophages, they clear away the damaging build-up of waxy
amyloid proteins in our brain's vascular system.
showed that once these proteins are cleared from the brain, further
damage can be prevented, and existing damage due to a previous stroke
can be repaired.
A new road to
an Alzheimer's cure?
breakthrough lead to both a vaccine and a long-sought cure for
Alzheimer's disease? "It appears that this could be the case," says Dr.
Frenkel, who worked on the study with his doctoral student Veronica
Lifshitz and master degree students Ronen Weiss and Tali Benromano.
"We've found a way to use the immune response stimulated by this drug to
prevent hemorrhagic strokes which lead to permanent brain damage," he
In the animal
models in mice, Dr. Frenkel's team worked with MRI specialist Prof.
Yaniv Assaf and his Ph.D. student Tamar Blumenfeld-Katzir of Tel Aviv
University's Department of Neurobiology and then with "object
recognition" experiments, testing their cognitive functioning both
before and after administration of the vaccine.
confirmed that, after the vaccine was administered, further vascular
damage was prevented, and the object recognition experiments indicated
that those animals treated with the new vaccine returned to normal
believes that this approach, when applied to a human test population,
will be able to prevent the downward health spiral of Alzheimer's and
dementia. The vaccine could be given to people who are at risk, those
who show very early symptoms of these diseases, and those who have
already suffered strokes to repair any vascular damage.
So far the
vaccine has shown no signs of toxicity in animal models. Dr. Frenkel is
hopeful that this new approach could lead to a cure, or at least an
effective treatment, for the vascular dementia found in 80% of all
people with Alzheimer's.
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