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2013 Grants - Goni
Conformational Directed Immunotherapy Targeting Both Tau and ABeta Pathology
Fernando Goni, Ph.D.
New York University School of Medicine
New York, New York
2013 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
Tau and beta-amyloid (also known as ABeta) are molecules implicated in brain damage associated with Alzheimer's disease. Tau is a protein that normally functions to help maintain nerve cell structure, but it is also the main constituent of neurofibrillary tangles, one of the two characteristics of Alzheimer's disease. Beta-amyloid is a protein fragment that forms amyloid plaques, and is the other pathologic characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.
Vaccines are designed to stimulate the body's immune system to recognize and eliminate a disease-causing molecule. Clinical trials have tested vaccines against either tau or beta-amyloid, but none have been found to be both safe and effective.
Fernando Goni, Ph.D., and colleagues have developed a new type of vaccine component that recognizes both tau and beta-amyloid. This vaccine component consists of a monoclonal antibody, a type of molecule the immune system uses to recognize specific disease-causing molecules. Dr. Goni and colleagues plan to test this vaccine component in mice that have been altered to have different types of conditions that mimic Alzheimer's disease. Some of the mice have amyloid plaques and others have neurofibrillary tangles. The goal of this research is to determine if the new vaccine component prevents the development of Alzheimer's-like brain changes, or reduces such changes after they have already formed. These studies are the first step in determining if the new vaccine component warrants clinical trials in humans.