BOSTON (CBS) – Brigham and Women’s Hospital will try a nasal vaccine for Alzheimer’s Disease.
The hospital announced the launch of a clinical trial on Tuesday to test the safety and effectiveness of the drug, which has been researched for nearly 20 years.
According to the Brigham, the nasal vaccine is “intended to prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.”
Sixteen people between the ages of 60 and 85 with early, symptomatic Alzheimer’s will be studied. They will each receive two doses of the vaccine one week apart.
“Maybe it could be a treatment for people with the disease and even more importantly it could be something to prevent people from ever getting the disease,” lead researcher Dr. Howard Weiner said.
The vaccine uses something called Protollin to stimulate the immune system. This is expected to activate white blood cells in the lymph nodes in the neck and send them to the brain to remove beta-amyloid plaques, a feature of Alzheimer’s.
“For 20 years, there is growing evidence that the immune system plays a key role in removing beta-amyloid. This vaccine utilizes a new arm of the immune system to treat AD,” said lead researcher Dr. Tanuja Chitnis in a statement.
Clinton Kershaw was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years ago at the age of 57. With the new test, he is hopeful for the future. “Living with Alzheimer’s disease is devastating, so it’s exciting to see something new across the board,” Kershaw said.
The Alzheimer’s Association calls this year an exciting time due to an increase in recent treatments and trials. In June the FDA granted accelerated approval for the very first Alzheimer’s drug. “I really believe now that the first survivor – will be young – is out there because of the incredible work the scientific community is doing,” said CEO Jim Wessler.