Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research points new way to possible Alzheimer’s vaccine

Date:
September 26, 2011
Source:
Georgia Health Sciences University
Summary:
An accomplice to the protein that causes plaque buildup in Alzheimer's disease is the focus of a potential new treatment, according to research.

An accomplice to the protein that causes plaque buildup in Alzheimer's disease is the focus of a potential new treatment, according to research by Georgia Health Sciences University graduate student, Scott Webster (pictured).
Credit: Phil Jones, Georgia Health Sciences University photographer

An accomplice to the protein that causes plaque buildup in Alzheimer's disease is the focus of a potential new treatment, according to research by a Georgia Health Sciences University graduate student.

In Alzheimer's, the amyloid protein can accumulate in the brain instead of being eliminated by the body's natural defenses, nestling between the neurons and forming impassable plaques.

Amyloid and the way it gets there could be targets for a new vaccine.

"RAGE, or receptor for advanced glycation endproducts, proteins bind to amyloid and transport it into the brain," said Scott Webster, a fifth-year graduate student who is studying the disease in the lab of Dr. Alvin Terry, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Research has shown that RAGE may also contribute to the inflammation and damage that amyloid causes to the brain's nerve cells.

Webster is researching a vaccine that targets RAGE and amyloid by using the body's own immune system to protect against their over-production and eventual build-up. His work has earned him the 2011 Darrell W. Brann Scholarship in Neuroscience, a $1,000 award honoring an outstanding graduate student on campus working in neuroscience.

"Unfortunately, all of the vaccines for Alzheimer's that have been through clinical trials have failed," he said. "Part of the reason why could be that they're just not comprehensive enough. Most only target amyloid. Our hope is that by taking a more encompassing approach, we will be more effective. So far, that's exactly what we're seeing in our experiments."

Other vaccines also have multiple side effects, including swelling of the brain. Webster hopes that targeting the RAGE protein and changing how the vaccine is administered will minimize inflammatory side effects.

Another benefit is that the vaccine can be administered orally, since it does not require an adjuvant, which is added to vaccines to enhance the immune response. The digestive tract is one of the body's largest repositories of human flora, microorganisms that are key to the immune system.

"That's a relatively new idea," Webster said. "By using the immune system that's endogenous to our gut, we can skew the body's response away from the inflammatory and toward a more robust antibody response, bypassing some of the side effects."

Early results have shown improved cognition and memory in animal models of Alzheimer's, something Webster considers a sort of personal crusade.

"I have watched a close family friend suffer from the disease and saw how devastating it was," he said. "The family is caring for this person and yet the person doesn't even remember who his own family is. It's a heartbreaking process to watch."

Even with promising results, he cautioned of unknowns about the potential vaccine.

"We need to move on to larger animal studies. We have a lot we still don't know about the vaccine itself. For example, we know that amyloid and RAGE bind together, but we don't know why the binding creates such a stable complex. We have these end points, but we still don't know some of the basic science that needs to be known so that we can push ahead."

In addition to the Brann Scholarship, Webster's research has earned him an invitation to the St. Jude National Graduate Student Symposium and the National Institutes of Health National Graduate Student Research Conference. He is also a two-time recipient of the Lowell Greenbaum Award for Research Excellence in Pharmacology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgia Health Sciences University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Georgia Health Sciences University. "Research points new way to possible Alzheimer’s vaccine." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926104609.htm>.
Georgia Health Sciences University. (2011, September 26). Research points new way to possible Alzheimer’s vaccine. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926104609.htm
Georgia Health Sciences University. "Research points new way to possible Alzheimer’s vaccine." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926104609.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins