Three years ago in a high-profile paper, researchers led by Michal Schwartz at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, deployed an immune-boosting approach pioneered for cancer in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. The results appeared encouraging. The therapeutic antibodies—checkpoint inhibitors—reportedly improved cognition and reduced amyloid plaque in the animals. Now, a follow-up study claims that checkpoint blockade is similarly effective in models of dementia driven by accumulation of pathologic tau. Their results raise the tantalizing prospect that checkpoint inhibitors, several of which are FDA-approved, could be used to treat dementia regardless of its underlying pathology. The study appeared January 28 in Nature Communications.
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