Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation Research May Yield Alzheimer's Vaccine

Article excerpt

Jordan Tang at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation has been steadily taking steps in his assault on Alzheimer's disease, and he recently took another.

Tang is at the forefront of a new study that shows that a shot could help prevent the debilitating disease.

Mice tested in the Alzheimer's research were immunized with a protein that could slow or eventually stop Alzheimer's. Vaccinated mice had fewer protein plaques, which are responsible for memory loss, nerve damage or cell death.

"These results are extremely exciting," Tang said. "They certainly show that this vaccination approach warrants additional investigation as a therapy for Alzheimer's disease."

The new research appears in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, 5 million Americans have the disease, including about 77,000 Oklahomans. Nearly half the U.S. population over the age of 85 has Alzheimer's.

Pharmaceutical company Elan tried a different vaccine in 2002 but stopped the efforts when 15 patients had swelling of the central nervous system.

OMRF President Stephen Prescott is optimistic this study will outperform the Elan test.

"This vaccination stimulates the immune system more gently than previous Alzheimer's vaccines, so we are optimistic about its prospects going forward," Prescott said. …