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Scientists raise possibility of vaccine for Alzheimer's disease

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 17 July 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:145
  1. Deborah Josefson
  1. San Francisco

    An experimental vaccine directed against amyloid, a protein implicated in Alzheimer's disease, has shown promise in animal trials (Nature 1999;400:173-7). The vaccine may lead to an effective treatment.

    Scientists at Elan Pharmaceuticals developed a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease by injecting the rodent with a mutant form of the human amyloid precursor protein. The mutant amyloid precursor protein gene, which occurs in a number of familial forms of Alzheimer's disease, leads to an overexpression of the amyloid β peptide, the principal constituent of amyloid plaque in the disease.

    Amyloid plaques consist of insoluble aggregates of amyloid protein and are thought to be involved in neuronal cell death.

    The transgenic mice developed amyloid plaques in their brains …

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