News of the WeekNeurobiology

An Immunization Against Alzheimer's?

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Science  09 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5425, pp. 175-177
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5425.175

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New findings raise the startling possibility of someday immunizing people to prevent or even reverse the mental devastation of Alzheimer's disease. A team reports this week in Nature that, in mice genetically engineered to develop an Alzheimer's-like condition, immunization with b-amyloid (Ab), the protein fragment that forms the plaques in the brain that are the hallmark of the disease, reversed or prevented plaque formation and neural damage. One big question mark, however, is that even if immunization prevented plaque formation in humans, no one is certain yet that plaque actually causes Alzheimer's symptoms.