Generating concern and disappointment among Alzheimer's disease researchers worldwide, a drug company in Ireland has halted tests of an experimental vaccine for the brain disorder. Citing evidence of inflammation in the central nervous system in four of the 97 patients in a French trial, Elan Corp. of Dublin announced the suspension in January and said it won't provide more information until its scientists complete a detailed investigation.
The vaccine consists primarily of a protein fragment called beta-amyloid, the same substance that accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer's. When mice with symptoms resembling those of Alzheimer's disease were injected with beta-amyloid, the treatment limited and cleared deposits of the protein from their brains (SN: 7/15/00, p. 38: Possible Alzheimer's vaccine seems safe).
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.