Alzheimer Vaccine Trial a Success
A new vaccine called CAD106 that triggers the body’s immune system to produce antibodies against harmful beta-amyloid in the brain could be a major breakthrough in Alzheimer’s treatment. The trial, published in the journal Lancet Neurology, says the vaccine involves active immunization designed to trigger the body's immune defense against beta-amyloid.
Beta-amyloid is a protein that accumulates in the brains of those with Alzheimer's disease The trial, carried out by Professor Bengt Winblad at Karolinska Institutet's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center in Huddinge and leading neurologists in the Swedish Brain Power network, is the first to report a positive effect of an active vaccine. The authors describe their findings as a 'promising option in the treatment of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease.'
Funded by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis this is the second trail to use human subjects. In the first, the trial was stopped as it caused a certain type of white blood cell to attack the person’s own brain tissue and caused numerous adverse side effects. This second modified vaccine showed no side-effects on their human subjects.
Vaccine treatments for Alzheimer’s offers huge potential for this disease that at the present time has no cure and for which we only have a few drugs currently available with a variable and limited effect. This three year study found 80 percent of the people who had taken the vaccine produced protective antibodies. Larger trials now need to be carried out to replicate and confirm CAD106 vaccine’s efficacy.
Vaccines trigger the immune system to produce its own antibodies against a disease, as though the body has been infected with it. This process is called 'active immunity'
Vaccines have been used with varying success since the 18th century. The first one was in 1796 against smallpox.
Vaccines have, in the past, offered protection against many diseases. For some diseases, like measles, a vaccine will provide lifelong protection whereas other require more frequent immunization. How long a vaccination lasts will depend on the disease that the vaccine protects against, the vaccine, and the person who is vaccinated.
Bengt Winblad, Niels Andreasen, Lennart Minthon, Annette Floesser, Georges Imbert, Thomas Dumortier, R Paul Maguire, Kaj Blennow, Joens Lundmark, Matthias Staufenbiel, Jean-Marc Orgogozo & Ana Graf Safety, tolerability, and antibody response of active A²immunotherapy with CAD106 in patients with Alzheimers disease: randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, first-in-human study Lancet Neurology, online first 6 June 2012, doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(12)70140-0