AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 2, 2017

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DNA Vaccine Protects Against Toxic Proteins Linked to Alzheimer’s

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A new DNA vaccine when delivered to the skin prompts an immune response that produces antibodies to protect against toxic proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease – without triggering severe brain swelling that earlier antibody treatments caused in some patients. Two studies from the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute demonstrate in animals how a vaccine containing DNA of the toxic beta-amyloid protein elicits a different immune response that may be safe for humans. The vaccine, which will likely be tested further by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is on a shortlist of promising antibody treatments that may eventually help settle a high-stakes debate of whether amyloid is a vital target for preventing or curing Alzheimer’s. 

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