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Clinical Trial Begins for Nasal Vaccine to Stop Progression of Alzheimer’s

December 2, 2021 by Alexa Hornbeck
Clinical Trial Begins for Nasal Vaccine to Stop Progression of Alzheimer’s
Computerized brain training can hold off cognitive decline and dementia, research suggests, and researchers have been quite successful at devising ways to diagnose Alzheimer's earlier and earlier. (Carlos Chavez/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital will soon begin a first-ever clinical trial of a new nasal spray vaccine that may hold the promise of treating Alzheimer’s disease. 

“If clinical trials in humans show that the vaccine is safe and effective, this could represent a nontoxic treatment for people with Alzheimer’s, and it could also be given early to help prevent Alzheimer’s in people at risk,” said Howard Weiner, co-director of the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham, in a press release.

More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, which can lead to memory loss, confusion and death. Despite 20 years of preclinical work, there are no treatments capable of stopping the disease’s progression.

To conduct the trial, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital will enroll 16 participants aged 60-85 who are in good health but have early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease to receive two doses of a nasal vaccine called Protollin. 

Protollin is composed of proteins derived from bacteria that can activate white blood cells in the lymph nodes and on the back of the neck to migrate to the brain and trigger the clearance of proteins that have clumped together, called beta-amyloid plaques, which are known to cause Alzheimer’s.  The research team will begin phase one of the clinical trial in a few weeks to determine the safety and tolerability of the nasal vaccine, and measure how Protollin affects participants’ immune response, which plays a critical role in all neurological diseases.

Alexa can be reached at [email protected] 

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