The Latest Rejuvenation Research, April 2008

The latest issue of Rejuvenation Research is available online, with a strong focus on the mechanisms of Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative processes. One of the more interesting papers describes the use of DNA vaccines in place of viral vectors in Alzheimer's immunotherapy. From Wikipedia:

DNA vaccines are third generation vaccines, and are made up of a small, circular piece of bacterial DNA (called a plasmid) that has been genetically engineered to produce one or two specific proteins (antigens) from a micro-organism. The vaccine DNA is injected into the cells of the body, where the "inner machinery" of the host cells "reads" the DNA and converts it into pathogenic proteins. Because these proteins are recognised as foreign, they are processed by the host cells and displayed on their surface, to alert the immune system, which then triggers a range of immune responses.

The early days of reprogramming our cells to do our bidding are starting to look quite sophisticated. Most immunotherapies for Alzheimer's disease (AD) seek to draft the immune system into destroying the accumulation of amyloid plaques thought to cause neurodegeneration. From the paper itself:

Although the clinical trials of active vaccination for AD patients were halted due to the development of meningoencephalitis in some patients, from the analysis of the clinical and pathological findings of treated patients, the vaccine therapy is thought to be effective. Based on such information, the vaccines for clinical application of human AD have been improved to control excessive immune reaction. Recently, we have developed non-viral DNA vaccines and obtained substantial [amlyoid beta] reduction in transgenic mice without side effects.

This issue of Rejuvenation Research is a weighty one, a little under twice as big as February's issue, and there's far too much of interest to list it all here. Head on over and take a look.

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