Immunotherapy for Alzheimer’s disease: hoops and hurdles
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CitationLemere, Cynthia A. 2013. “Immunotherapy for Alzheimer’s disease: hoops and hurdles.” Molecular Neurodegeneration 8 (1): 36. doi:10.1186/1750-1326-8-36. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1750-1326-8-36.
AbstractAlzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia, afflicting more than 30 million people worldwide. Currently, there is no cure or way to prevent this devastating disease. Extracellular plaques, containing various forms of amyloid-β protein (Aβ), and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), composed of hyper-phosphorylated tau protein, are two major pathological hallmarks of the AD brain. Aggregation, deposition, and N-terminal modification of Aβ protein and tau phosphorylation and aggregation are thought to precede the onset of cognitive decline, which is better correlated with tangle formation and neuron loss. Active and passive vaccines against various forms of Aβ have shown promise in pre-clinical animal models. However, translating these results safely and effectively into humans has been challenging. Recent clinical trials showed little or no cognitive efficacy, possibly due to the fact that the aforementioned neurodegenerative processes most likely pre-existed in the patients well before the start of immunotherapy. Efforts are now underway to treat individuals at risk for AD prior to or in the earliest stages of cognitive decline with the hope of preventing or delaying the onset of the disease. In addition, efforts to immunize against tau and other AD-related targets are underway.
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