First human trial of a nasal vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease set to begin

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 11:02 AM CST
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(Gray News) - After 20 years of research, Brigham and Women’s Hospital is ready to start a clinical trial to test the safety and efficacy of a new nasal vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease.

According to the hospital, the vaccine is intended to prevent and slow the progression of the neurological disease.

Dr. Howard L. Weiner, who led research for this vaccine, says the launch of the first human trial of a nasal vaccine for Alzheimer’s is a “remarkable milestone.”

“If clinical trials in humans show that the vaccine is safe and effective, this could represent a nontoxic treatment for people with Alzheimer’s, and it could also be given early to help prevent Alzheimer’s in people at risk,” Weiner said.

According to the hospital, the vaccine uses Protollin, which is an agent that stimulates the immune system.

“Protollin is designed to activate white blood cells found in the lymph nodes on the sides and back of the neck to migrate to the brain and trigger clearance of beta amyloid plaques,” the hospital explained in a news release.

Dr. Tanuja Chitnis, principal investigator of the trial, says there has been evidence that the immune system plays a key role in this disease.

“Research in this area has paved the way for us to pursue a whole new avenue for potentially treating not only Alzheimer’s disease, but also other neurodegenerative diseases,” Chitnis said.

Phase 1 of the trial will include 16 patients between the ages of 60 and 85 with early, symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease. Participants will receive two doses of the vaccine one week apart.

The objective of this phase is to determine the safety and tolerability of the nasal vaccine, in addition to measuring the patients’ immune response to Protollin.

“The immune system plays a very important role in all neurologic diseases,” said Weiner. “And it’s exciting that after 20 years of preclinical work, we can finally take a key step forward toward clinical translation and conduct this landmark first human trial.”

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