Mouse experiments have shown that DNA injected into the skin may slow the onset of Alzheimer's disease without serious side effects.
Research findings that have appeared in Alzheimer's research and therapy could pave the way for clinical trials with humans, researchers said.
Scientists believe that two types of toxic proteins play a key role in the development of Alzheimer's disease – beta-amyloid and tau.
Beta-amyloid accumulates in the brain and is a feature of the disease found in post-mortem examinations in some patients. Tau is a protein that produces destructive "agglomeration" in nerve cells. Some research suggests that these two are linked, a beta-amyloid that promotes the formation of "clusters" caused by your protein.
The new vaccine contains DNA encoding a beta-amyloid protein segment.
In the study, the vaccine elicited an immune response that not only reduced beta-amyloid production by 40% but also reduced protein production by 50%.
Research has been conducted in mice that have been genetically engineered to develop the equivalent of Alzheimer's disease.
The new vaccine is injected into the skin instead of the muscle, resulting in another type of immune response.
If the effects observed in mice will be repeated in humans, this vaccine should be "of great therapeutic value," said the researchers.