Researchers have created a new combination vaccine therapy that can induce strong immune responses against tau and Aβ pathologies seen in Alzheimer’s in bigenic mice.

Through international collaboration, researchers have created a preventative combination vaccine therapy for Alzheimer’s disease that has shown success in a bigenic mouse model. The group is looking to create an effective immunotherapy to remove amyloid-beta (Aβ) plaques and tau protein aggregates linked to Alzheimer’s.

American researchers at the Institute for Molecular Medicine and University of California, Irvine (UCI) tested AV-1959R and AV-1980R, the universal MultiTEP platform-based vaccines, formulated with AdvaxCpG, an adjuvant developed by Flinders University’s Professor Nikolai Petrovsky, in the mouse models with mixed Aβ and tau pathologies.

…there is a pressing need to keep searching for a new preventive vaccine”

The study reports that the vaccinated mice produced high levels of Aβ- and tau-specific antibodies that were able to recognise plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in human brain sections. The vaccinated mice also showed reduced levels of soluble and insoluble tau and insoluble Aβ in their brain tissues. The researchers therefore conclude that the combination of the two can effectively reduce both hallmark pathologies of Alzheimer’s in bigenic mice.

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“Taken together, these findings warrant further development of this dual vaccination strategy based on the MultiTEP technology for ultimate testing in human Alzheimer’s disease,” the lead authors Anahit Ghochikyan, Professor at the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Mathew Blurton-Jones, Associate Professor at UCI say.

Professor Petrovsky says the Advax adjuvant method is a pivotal system to help the combination vaccine therapy get to clinical trials. The researchers hope this could occur within two years.

“Our approach is looking to cover all bases and get past previous roadblocks in finding a therapy to slow the accumulation of Aβ/tau molecules and delay Alzheimer’s progression in the rising number of people around the world,” says Professor Petrovsky.

Professor Ghochikyan indicates there is a pressing need to keep searching for a new preventive vaccine as the monoclonal antibody (aducanumab) therapy has been found unsuitable for use in healthy patients, due to the required high and frequent doses.

The researchers hope the new combined vaccination approach could potentially be used to induce strong immune responses against both hallmark pathologies of Alzheimer’s in a broad population base of vaccinated subjects.

The paper was published in Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy.