Rationale for peptide and DNA based epitope vaccines for Alzheimer's disease immunotherapy

CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2009 Apr;8(2):128-43. doi: 10.2174/187152709787847298.


Amyloid-beta (Abeta) immunotherapy has received considerable attention as a promising approach for reducing the level of Abeta in the CNS of Alzheimer's disease patients. However, the first Phase II clinical trial, for the immune therapy AN1792, was halted when a subset of those immunized with Abeta(42) developed adverse events in the central nervous system. In addition, data from the trial indicated that there was a low percentage of responders and generally low to moderate titers in the patients that received the vaccine. Generated antibodies reduced beta-amyloid deposits in the parenchyma of patients' brains, but no reduction in soluble Abeta or significant improvements in cognitive function of patients were observed. These data and data from pre-clinical studies suggest that reduction in the most toxic oligomeric forms of Abeta is important for prevention or slowing down of the progression of cognitive decline, and that vaccination should be started prior to irreversible accumulation of the oligomeric Abeta, at the early stages of AD. Protective immunotherapy requires a development of safe and effective strategy for Abeta immunotherapy. In this review, the rationale for developing epitope vaccines for the treatment of AD will be discussed. We believe that an epitope vaccine will induce an adequate anti-Abeta antibody response in the absence of potentially adverse self T cell-mediated events, making it possible to start immunization at the early stages of AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / immunology
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology
  • Alzheimer Vaccines / adverse effects*
  • Alzheimer Vaccines / genetics
  • Alzheimer Vaccines / immunology
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / immunology
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / standards
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / immunology
  • Epitopes / genetics
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Active / adverse effects
  • Immunotherapy, Active / methods*
  • Immunotherapy, Active / trends
  • Peptides / immunology
  • Peptides / pharmacology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Alzheimer Vaccines
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Epitopes
  • Peptides
  • DNA