Study Reveals New Vaccine Reverses Memory Loss

Imagine an Alzheimer's patient receiving a vaccine made of specialized blood cells and then showing a much- improved memory. Also, imagine that vaccine having no side effects and needing to be given only occasionally.

Researchers at the Johnnie B. Byrd, Sr. Alzheimer's Center & Research Institute in Tampa, Florida, have not only imagined these things, they have actually developed such a vaccine that they show reverses memory loss in Alzheimer's mice.

In a study published this week in the journal, Neurobiology of Disease, researchers report that tests of the new vaccine on mice shows promise of reversing memory loss and seriously slowing the effects of Alzheimer's on patients. The groundbreaking research was done by investigators from the Byrd Alzheimer's Institute, the University of South Florida, and University of California Riverside.

In the study, researchers took ordinary white blood cells (immune cells) from normal mice and exposed those white blood cells to an abnormal protein called "beta-amyloid." Beta-amyloid accumulates in Alzheimer's brains and appears to be the root cause of this devastating disease.

A single injection of white blood cells "sensitized" to beta-amyloid was given to Alzheimer's mice with impaired memories and Alzheimer's-like brain pathologies. When the Alzheimer's mice were tested several months later, their memory performance was surprisingly improved, even up to the level of normal mice. Moreover, this single vaccine treatment increased connections between brain cells and reduced brain levels of beta-amyloid in the Alzheimer's mice.

"This adoptive transfer vaccine approach is important not only for the long-term benefits it provides, but also for what it doesn't provide — harmful side effects," said Gary Arendash, Ph.D, a principal investigator on the study and a Byrd Institute researcher.

Plans for clinical trials with the new vaccine in Alzheimer's patients are underway at the Byrd Alzheimer's Center and Research Institute. "Even if this new vaccine does not cure Alzheimer's disease, it may significantly slow down the disease process and thus provide years of quality life to individuals diagnosed with the disease," said Arendash.

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The new vaccine created by Byrd Institute researchers and their collaborators did not induce an inflammatory response in either the blood or brain of Alzheimer's mice, said Dr. Douglas Ethell of the University of California, another principle investigator in the study.

Information on the study and helpful information on treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease can be found at:


21 thoughts on “Study Reveals New Vaccine Reverses Memory Loss

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  7. Ben Stevens

    Wouldn’t it be nice,
    If just once or twice,
    If researchers could cure,
    Something other than mice.

    Ben Stevens
    Irving, TX
    Living with AD for more than 10 years

    (ok to publish)

  8. That’s amazing! Although the proper testing understandably takes time, it’s a shame we can’t expect to see these newly-developed pharmaceuticals available to the public for years to come. I wonder, also, if such a thing would be good for healthy people to take — if it would help improve their memory, or if it would only be effective for someone who has a beta-amyloid problem.

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  12. amanda

    My family has a history of early on set alzheimers . my 47 year old mother has had it for over two years.. this is amazing news. i hope,i pray it works on people too.. not just those lucky little mice.. never really wanted my mom to be a mouse before.

  13. Here are the results of the research conducted at the Byrd Institute.

    Click to access Ethell%20et%20al,%202006%20NBD%20-%20personal%20version.pdf

    It seems that there are some benefits to this research.
    Here is a summary of the article:

    “In summary, our findings show that a restricted immune response to Aβ is sufficient to reverse cognitive impairment and lessen some brain pathology in AD transgenic mice over a surprisingly long period of time. We conclude that endogenous mechanisms repress immune responses to Aβ and that boosting Aβ-specific Th2 responses overrides that repression, which aids in lowering soluble Aβ within the brain without activating a global inflammatory response or inducing meningoencephalitis. Therefore, the adoptive transfer 16 of Aβ-specific T-cells represents a novel approach to the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease that may have substantial therapeutic potential.” – Johnnie B. Byrd, Sr. Alzheimer’s Center & Research Institude.

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