BOSTON (CBS) - Brigham and Women's Hospital is going to test a nasal vaccine for Alzheimer's Disease.
The hospital announced the launch of a clinical trial Tuesday to test the safety and efficacy of the medicine, which has been researched for nearly 20 years.
According to the Brigham, the nasal vaccine is "intended to prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer's."
Sixteen people between the ages of 60 and 85 with early, symptomatic Alzheimer's will be studied. They'll each get two doses of the vaccine one week apart.
"Potentially it could be a treatment for people with the disease and even more important it could be something to prevent people from ever getting the disease," lead researcher Dr. Howard Weiner said.
The vaccine uses something called Protollin to stimulate the immune system. That is expected to activate white blood cells in the lymph nodes in the neck and send them to the brain to clear out beta amyloid plaques, a distinctive feature of Alzheimer's.
"For 20 years, there has been growing evidence that the immune system plays a key role in eliminating beta amyloid. This vaccine harnesses a novel arm of the immune system to treat AD," principal investigator Dr. Tanuja Chitnis said in a statement.
Clinton Kershaw was diagnosed with Alzheimer's four years ago at the age of 57. With the new trial, he's hopeful for the future. "Living with Alzheimer's Disease is devastating, so it's exciting to see something new come across the board," Kershaw said.
The Alzheimer's Association calls this year an exciting time due to a rise in recent treatments and trials. In June the FDA granted accelerated approval for the very first Alzheimer's drug. "I really do believe now that the first survivor -going to be young- is out there because of the incredible work the science community is doing," CEO Jim Wessler said.
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