Ichor awarded US$3.3m grant to develop DNA-based Alzheimer’s disease
20 August 2009
Ichor Medical Systems (Ichor) of San Diego has been selected to
receive a $3.3 million grant award from the US National Institute of
Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) for development of a vaccine
for Alzheimer’s disease.
Ichor is collaborating on the project with Dr. Michael Agadjanyan,
Vice President and Head of Immunology at the Institute for Molecular
Medicine (IMM), Huntington Beach, CA; Dr. David H. Cribbs, Professor,
Department of Neurology and Institute for Memory Impairments and
Neurological Disorders at the University of California, Irvine (UCI);
and Dr. Ruth Mulnard, Associate Professor of Neurology and Associate
Director, Institute for Clinical Translational Science at UCI.
In the last few years the laboratories of Dr. Agadjanyan and Dr.
Cribbs have designed and evaluated DNA-based vaccines for Alzheimer’s
disease. In mice genetically engineered to model Alzheimer’s disease,
these vaccines slowed the development of pathology and reduced
Building upon these promising research findings, Ichor will evaluate
its proprietary TriGrid electroporation technology for delivery of DNA
vaccines encoding proteins implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s
The objective of this approach is to induce antibody responses that
slow down progression of Alzheimer’s disease, or if vaccination is
initiated early enough, could even prevent disease development. The plan
funded by the NINDS includes the studies required to support eventual
initiation of human clinical testing of this approach.
“The enormous and increasing worldwide healthcare burden of
Alzheimer’s disease coupled with the current lack of effective drugs has
made the investigation of new prophylactic and/or therapeutic approaches
capable of addressing Alzheimer’s disease essential,” according to
“DNA-based agents exhibit several significant advantages when
compared to conventional biologics,” said 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.”
“We are pleased to be working with the exceptional groups at IMM and
UCI,” said Drew Hannaman, Ichor Vice President of Research and
Development. “Their work demonstrating the feasibility of using DNA
immunization for Alzheimer’s disease has provided a strong rationale
supporting translation of this approach into clinical testing.”
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