We celebrated an extraordinary milestone in 2021 with the launch of the first human trial of a nasal vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease. This moment is both personally and professionally meaningful to me. I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s disease two decades ago. Even though I’m a neurologist, when she was diagnosed, I knew I couldn’t help her, and I knew we were going to lose her. So, I have seen firsthand the toll this illness has on affected individuals, and I’ve devoted my career to finding a way to prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. My lab has worked for nearly 20 years to lay the groundwork for a clinical trial of a new treatment that activates the immune system to treat disease. This year, we received approval to begin that trial, and in December of 2021, we administered the nasal vaccine to the first of sixteen participants. If clinical trials show that the vaccine is safe and effective, this could represent a treatment for people with Alzheimer’s disease or an early intervention for those at risk. We, of course, won’t know until we see the results, but it is gratifying and exciting to be on this journey.
Howard L. Weiner, MD
Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Program, Department of Neurology