Vaccine reverses Parkinson's disease in animal study

An experimental vaccine being studied at the University of Nebraska Medical Center successfully spurred the development of dopamine-producing nerve cells, reversing Parkinson's disease in mice. And after more than a decade of work, the scientists are anxious to determine if the same vaccine strategy will work in humans.

The key to the vaccine's success, the researchers say, is its ability to get T cells to migrate to the areas of the brain damaged by the neurodegenerative disease. "We believe this could be a revolutionary means for Parkinson's therapeutics," says Howard Gendelman, who partnered with R. Lee Mosley on the research.

"The identical immune deficits seen in mice are being looked at in humans with Parkinson's," Dr. Mosley says. "Early results are encouraging. This should pave the way for researchers to begin follow-up studies on the Parkinson's treatments and open up new opportunities to realize an immunization approach for other neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease)."

University officials say they have filed a patent application and plan to begin talks with potential commercial partners on the vaccine.

- here's the press release
- here's the story from the Omaha World-Herald