Alzheimer's breakthrough

Scientists from Southampton have found that an immune response in the brain plays a key role in the development of Alzheimer’s, and that a vaccine designed to tackle the disease was able to suppress the response.

Research into Alzheimer's successful

A team of scientists at the University of Southampton have looked back through decade old clinical trials to shed new light on Alzheimer's disease.

The new findings come after the team examined brain tissue from people who took part in a clinical and safety trial of the AN1792 vaccine over 10 years ago. The vaccine aimed to remove the amyloid protein, a key component of the disease, from the brain.

A phase II of the trail vaccine was halted in 2002 when a small number of participants developed brain inflammation, and results from the trial showed no improvement in people’s symptoms. But the new research has shown that the vaccine was actually able to suppress the response to the disease.

“Our study not only adds to existing evidence that inflammation in the brain plays an important role in Alzheimer’s disease, but provides new hope for future clinical trials. Our research shows that amyloid can be removed from the brain without over-activating the brain’s immune system in the long-term, and this provides some hope for anti-amyloid treatments of the future.

– Dr Delphine Boche, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Southampton