Potential Alzheimer’s Vaccine Undergoing Pre-Clinical Trial Tests

Patricia Inacio, PhD avatar

by Patricia Inacio, PhD |

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First Alzheimer's vaccine undergoing tests

Scientists have developed a novel form of vaccine targeting the two main proteins triggering Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid-beta and tau protein.

Researchers and physicians have seen an increase in Alzheimer’s disease, with more than 7.5 million new cases diagnosed worldwide per year. There is an urgent but still unmet need for a vaccine and effective treatment for dementia, one of the most detrimental features of Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers at Flinders University in Australia, collaborating with colleagues at the Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM) and the University of California at Irvine (UCI), have designed a successful vaccine formulation that targets the abnormal beta-amyloid and tau proteins that signal Alzheimer’s disease.

The study, “Alzheimer’s disease AdvaxCpG- adjuvanted MultiTEP-based dual and single vaccines induce high-titer antibodies against various forms of tau and Aβ pathological molecules, was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

“If we are successful in preclinical trials, in three to five years, we could be well on the way to one of the most important developments in recent medical history,” Professor Nikolai Petrovsky at Flinders University School of Medicine, and director of the South Australian vaccine research company Vaxine Pty, said in a press release.

“Along with our rapidly aging populations, we now know that the explosion in type 2 diabetes in the West is likely to further dramatically fuel the projected rise in the number of cases of dementia globally, with diabetes being the major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease,” Petrovsky said.

Alzheimer’s is prompted by abnormal accumulations of amyloid-beta and tau protein. Researchers found that combining an anti-amyloid-beta and anti-tau vaccines with a powerful and safe adjuvant technology, Advax, developed by Vaxine Pty, showed both a therapeutic and preventive potential in Alzheimer’s.

“This study suggests that we can immunize patients at the early stages of AD, or even healthy people at risk for AD, using our anti-amyloid-beta vaccine, and, if the disease progresses, then vaccinate with another anti-tau vaccine to increase effectiveness,” said Associate Prof. Anahit Ghochikyan at the IMM Department of Molecular Immunology and the study’s co-lead author.

Now, scientists are working with experts from four different companies to perform preclinical assessment of the vaccine’s safety and toxicology profile, so that in the future they can fulfill U.S. government safety standards for an FDA Investigational New Drug application.

Following these preclinical studies, researchers want to test the vaccine’s effectiveness in human trials with Alzheimer’s patients.

Total global predicted societal costs and care of illnesses related to dementia are estimated at more than $600 billion a year, according to the World Health Organization.