Alzheimer’s vax skirts deadly side effects

Scientific American is reporting on the successful advance of a preclinical Alzheimer's vaccine that combines small amounts of amyloid beta and interleukin-4, which is delivered in an inactivated herpes virus. In mice, the vaccine cleared amyloid beta. And researchers at Harvard say that because of the interleukin-4 the mice did not experience swelling--a dangerous side effect that thwarted earlier attempts to develop a similar vaccine.

"The problem with the previous trial of Aß vaccine was it led to a toxic response caused by activation of an inappropriate immune response," says Harvard's Michael Wolfe. "But this new vaccine sounds promising. I am most optimistic about this approach among all the things currently in trials right now." But he also acknowledges that we won't understand the long-term safety issues until large human trials are launched, which he hopes to see in three years.

- read the article in Scientific American