Oral Alzheimer's vaccine shows promise

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Humans will test a new oral vaccine for Alzheimer's as early as next year, according to the director of a Japanese research institute that is testing the vaccine.

The vaccine has proven effective and safe in mice, said Takeshi Tabira, director of the National Institute for Longevity Sciences in Aichi, central Japan. It reduced the amount of amyloid plaques - which characterize Alzheimer's disease - in the brain and improved mental function. The treatment did not cause inflammation or bleeding in the brains of the mice, Tabira noted.

Research on this project is expected to be published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in July. Another Alzheimer's vaccine ACC-001, by U.S. drugmaker Wyeth and its Irish partner Elan Corp, is in early stage human trials.