Progress toward Alzheimer's vaccine, says Israeli researcher

JERUSALEM — An Israeli researcher working on a vaccine to combat Alzheimer's disease said Nov. 9 that he had made important progress following tests on gene-altered laboratory mice.

"We have been able to stimulate an immune response and forecast the effects in inoculated mice carrying human genes," Alon Monsonego, who works with British and U.S. researchers, told Agence France Presse.

"It is an important development" that could help find vaccines which could be used for individuals with a predisposition to Alzheimer's, said the University of Beersheva researcher.

Monsonego added that "inoculated mice were able to reduce plaques of beta-peptides, as well as inflammations and neuronal damage associated with the disease."

Monsonego's work which is aimed at finding a vaccine capable of reinforcing the immune system were published in the specialized Journal of Immunology.

A report Nov.9 by Alzheimer's Disease International, which groups Alzheimer associations around the world, predicted that cases of the disease and other forms of dementia are expected to soar in the next few decades, largely because of a spike in cases in developing countries.

Approximately 36 million people will be living with dementia in 2010, an increase of about 12 million on how many experienced some form of dementia in 2005, the report said.