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Alzheimer's prevention patch 'safe and effective'

23rd January 2007

A new patch which could provide a vaccine for Alzheimer's disease has been deemed safe and effective by scientists.

Researchers from the University of South Florida conducted trials on mice and found the patch could clear brain-damaging plaques.

An across-the-skin vaccination could be a simpler way of treating the disease and is less likely to lead to adverse side-effects, the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences said.

Alzheimer's sufferers often have an abnormal build-up of the beta amyloid (Ab) protein, and the vaccine helps the immune system to recognise Ab and attack it.

"This study is the first to demonstrate that immunisation using the skin may be an effective way to reduce Ab pathology," said Jun Tan, a senior study author and the University of South Florida's director of the Neuroimmunology Laboratory.

Co-author Terrence Town added: "The beauty is that something as simple and non-invasive as a skin patch could potentially be a promising therapy for Alzheimer's disease."

Clive Ballard, the director of research at the Alzheimer's Society described the study as "potentially very exciting" but said more research was needed.