Health. Alzheimer’s: researchers work on a nasal vaccine

It is an effective and non-invasive technique, which has mobilized teams of researchers from around the world for several years.

Today, the nasal route could well be added to other therapies aimed at preventing or slowing down the effects of a disease that affects more than 35 million people worldwide: Alzheimer’s disease.

Two teams have been in the news recently: in November 2021, the Americans at Brigham and Women’s Hospital announced the launch of a clinical trial whose objective is to test “the safety and efficacy of a new nasally administered vaccine, aimed at preventing and delaying the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.” A nasally administered vaccine, therefore, the result of twenty years of research.

This first-in-human clinical trial involves a small sample of 16 people with early, symptomatic Alzheimer’s.

The vaccine is based on an intranasal agent already used as an adjuvant in other vaccines. This agent stimulates the immune system and triggers the elimination of amyloid plaques, the “senile plaques” characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease that lead to the destruction of the patients’ neurons.


More recently, a Japanese team announced that they had developed a combination of rifampin, an antibiotic, and resveratrol, an antioxidant, that can be administered nasally. Only tested in mice at this stage, this combination targets oligomers thought to be involved in early amyloid plaque formation.

Main advantage of the treatment: it eliminates the drawbacks associated with Rifampicin used alone, which has already been shown to be effective in improving cognitive function but can cause liver damage.

The Japanese researchers also noted that nasal administration of this combination resulted in better drug transferability to the brain and greater safety and medicinal effects.

In other words, the efficacy of the treatment had improved, at least in the mice. Global human clinical trials are in the works, the researchers say.

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