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2006 Grant - Kim
A-Beta Vaccines Using Recombinant Viruses
Hong-Duck Kim, Ph.D.
University of Illinois at Chicago
2006 New Investigator Research Grant
The beta-amyloid protein fragment may be the primary instigator of Alzheimer's disease processes that disrupt cell-to-cell communication and destroy neurons. Preliminary studies on an anti-beta-amyloid immunotherapy, or "vaccine," have shown that the strategy may be an effective treatment. But early trials of the first vaccine resulted in severe brain inflammation in some research participants. Current efforts are under way to develop safer immunotherapies.
Hong-Duck Kim, Ph.D., and colleagues have developed a beta-amyloid vaccine that contains multiple copies of a tiny portion of beta-amyloid rather than the whole molecule. They have tested this beta-amyloid-derived agent in genetically altered mice that develop an Alzheimer-like disorder, and the results demonstrated that it effectively cleared beta-amyloid from the brain and did not induce inflammation.
The investigators are now refining the delivery system for this vaccine. They will develop four different genetically engineered viruses that will deliver "instructions" for production of the beta-amyloid-derived agent inside neurons. They will test these therapies in Alzheimer-like mice and determine the immune responses induced by the vaccines. The outcome of this work may provide evidence for the future development of clinical trials.