Ichor Medical Systems along with academic collaborators received $3.3 million from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) to develop a vaccine for Alzheimer’s disease. The money will be used to study a combination of a vaccine that has shown promise in animal models with Ichor’s delivery system, with the aim of accomplishing IND-enabling studies.
Ichor is collaborating with Michael Agadjanyan, Ph.D., vp and head of immunology at the Institute for Molecular Medicine; David H. Cribbs, Ph.D., professor, department of neurology and institute for memory impairments and neurological disorders at the University of California, Irvine (UCI); and Ruth Mulnard, associate professor of neurology and associate director, Institute for Clinical Translational Science at UCI.
Dr. Agadjanyan and Dr. Cribbs say that they have designed and evaluated DNA-based vaccines for Alzheimer’s. In mice genetically engineered to model the disease, these vaccines slowed the development of pathology and reduced behavioral deficits.
“DNA-based agents exhibit several significant advantages when compared to conventional biologics,” says Dr. Agadjanyan. “However, the primary shortcoming of DNA-based agents is a lack of potency. Accumulating data suggest this can be overcome through improved delivery methods like Ichor’s TriGrid™ electroporation technology.”
The TriGrid Delivery System is an integrated and fully automated system for electroporation-mediated DNA administration in humans. The objective of this approach is to induce antibody responses that slow down progression of Alzheimer’s disease. If vaccination is initiated early enough, it could even prevent disease development, according to the researchers.