2005 Alzheimer award to Hideo Hara, M.D. and Takeshi Tabira, M.D., Ph.D.

11 July 2005

Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Cleveland, OH, USA – The 2005 Alzheimer Award is being presented to Hideo Hara, M.D. and Takeshi Tabira, M.D., Ph.D., in recognition of their outstanding work published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease (IOS Press, Volume 6, 2004, 483-488), "Development of a safe oral Aß vaccine using recombinant adeno-associated virus vector for Alzheimer's disease" by Hideo Hara, Alon Monsonego, Katsutoshi Yuasa, Kayo Adachi, Xiao Xiao, Shin'ichi Takeda, Keikichi Takahashi, Howard L. Weiner, and Takeshi Tabira. The work was performed at the National Institute for Longevity Sciences, NCGG, Aichi, Japan.

The paper presents a new oral vaccine treatment for Alzheimer's disease using adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector carrying Aß cDNA. The treatment is quite effective for ameliorating Alzheimer's disease pathology in mice. Immunotherapy is still a promising therapeutic approach for Alzheimer's disease regardless of the reported side effects of the phase IIa trial of AN1792(QS-21). This new oral vaccine does not induce strong Th1 T cell immune reactions, and hence it could reduce the side effects of such meningoencephalitis.

Hideo Hara, M.D., graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, Kyushu University, Japan in 1983 and received a Ph.D. in 1990 from same university. While carrying out clinical work in the Department of Neurology at Kyushu University Hospital, Dr. Hara developed an interest in neuroimmunology and investigated the T cell receptor repertoire of the CNS infiltrated lymphocytes of multiple sclerosis and HAM/TSP patients. In 1999, Dr. Hara was appointed Section Chief of the Department of Demyelinating Diseases and Aging at the National Institute of Neuroscience, NCNP, Japan. Since that time, Drs. Hara and Tabira have worked to develop immunotherapy for Alzheimer's disease based on their knowledge of neuroimmunology.

Takeshi Tabira, M.D., Ph.D., President of the 8th International Congress of Neuroimmunology in 2006, has been studying multiple sclerosis and other neuroimmunological diseases. He has also conducted numerous high profile studies in Alzheimer's disease. Because of his expertise in neuroimmunology, it was natural for him to think of the oral vaccine. He knew that the gut immune system suppresses Th1 and enhances Th2 immune responses. The vaccine-mediated encephalomyelitis is thought to be mediated by Th1-type T cells so this route of treatment could diminish side effects.

The associate editors of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease select the award recipient from among articles published the previous year's volume. The awardee will receive the Alzheimer Medal, a bronze medal with the likeness of Alois Alzheimer and US5000. Former winners include Lester I. Binder, Ph.D., Massimo Tabaton, M.D., Thomas Wisniewski, M.D., Luciano D'Adamio, M.D., Ph.D., and Suzanne de la Monte, M.D., M.P.H.

This annual award is sponsored by Elan Pharmaceuticals.