Swedish study offers Alzheimer’s vaccine hope

Swedish researchers are hopeful that a new study published on Wednesday could represent a breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.

Eight out of ten volunteers developed antibodies against beta amyloid, a substance that kills brain cells and causes the disease, according to a report in the Dagens Nyheter daily.

“There are two important results of this study. Patients have formed antibodies, while they do not have any side effects,” explained Kaj Blennow at the Sahlgrenska Academy in Gothenburg, one of the researchers behind the study.

The first test of a Alzheimer’s vaccine was tested on humans some ten years ago. The trials were however suspended following the emergence of serious side effects, with several of the subjects suffering from encephalitis.

The difference between that study and the one published on Wednesday, is that only selected parts of more than 40 amino acid long amyloid beta peptides have been used.

This has affected the harmful amyloid beta peptides but without serious side effects.

The study was conducted under the guidance of Professor Bengt Winblad at Karolinska Institutet’s Alzheimer’s Center in Huddinge, together with brain scientists in the research network Swedish Brain Power.

Any vaccine developed as a result of this study would in the future primarily be used by patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.

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