Advances in the development of vaccines for Alzheimer's disease

Discov Med. 2013 May;15(84):319-26.


One of the challenges of our society is to find a treatment or cure for Alzheimer's disease (AD). AD is the leading form of age-related dementia and with the increase of life expectancy worldwide, the social and economic burden from this disease will increase dramatically. It is a progressive and, in regard to clinical scores, a highly variable disease. AD pathogenesis has been associated with the accumulation, aggregation, and deposition of amyloid beta (Abeta) peptides in the brain. Hallmarks of AD are the amyloid plaques consisting of fibrillar Abeta and neurofibrillary tangles which are intracellular fibrils of hyperphosphorylated tau protein that develop later in this disease. The amyloid cascade hypothesis postulates that Abeta deposition is an initial event in the multifactorial pathogenesis and Abeta deposition may precede AD symptoms in some patients by at least 20 years. Amyloid beta therapy with active and passive immunizations against Abeta has a high possibility to be effective in removing Abeta from brain and might thus prevent the downstream pathology. Since 2000 a number of clinical trials for AD immunotherapy have started, have failed, and are continuing to be pursued. This article will review these clinical trials and ongoing research in this regard.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / prevention & control*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Vaccines / immunology*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Vaccines