Story at a glance

  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital is starting a clinical trial to test the safety and efficacy of a nasal vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The trial will include 16 participants between the ages of 60 and 85 with early, symptomatic Alzheimer’s, but who are otherwise in good health.
  • Hospital officials said the trial is the culmination of 20 years of research at the institution.

A Boston hospital is launching the first human clinical trial of a nasal vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease. 

Brigham and Women’s Hospital announced Tuesday it’s set to kick off a clinical trial to test the safety and efficacy of a new vaccine delivered nasally to prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. 

The trial will include 16 participants between the ages of 60 and 85 with early, symptomatic Alzheimer’s, but who are otherwise in good health. They’ll receive two vaccine doses one week apart. 

Participants will be chosen from the hospital’s Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases. The early-stage trial is meant to evaluate the safety and suitable dosage for the new medication. 

Hospital officials said the trial is the culmination of 20 years of research at the institution. 


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“The launch of the first human trial of a nasal vaccine for Alzheimer’s is a remarkable milestone,” Howard L. Weiner, co-director of the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases, said in a release. 

“Over the last two decades, we’ve amassed preclinical evidence suggesting the potential of this nasal vaccine for AD [Alzheimer’s Disease.] If clinical trials in humans show that the vaccine is safe and effective, this could represent a nontoxic treatment for people with Alzheimer’s, and it could also be given early to help prevent Alzheimer’s in people at risk,” Weiner said. 

The vaccine uses Protollin, an investigational intranasal agent that stimulates the immune system. Protollin activates white blood cells in the lymph nodes on the sides and back of the neck to migrate to the brain and trigger clearance of beta-amyloid plaques, which are a marker of Alzheimer’s, according to the hospital. 

As many as 5.8 million Americans were living with Alzheimer’s in 2020, and that number is expected to triple to 14 million by 2060, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


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Published on Nov 17, 2021