AD is the most common form of dementia in humans and is caused by the abnormal deposition of BA plaques associated with neuronal loss in the patient. The aim of the 'Alzheimer's disease-treatment targeting truncated AB40/42 by active immunisation' (Mimovax) project was to develop a safe, efficacious vaccine against modified BAs in the plaques. The principle behind the novel vaccine is that the patient's immune system would be activated to attack and remove the modified BAs thus directly addressing the cause of the disease. The researchers looked for mimotopes that mimicked the structures of epitopes (that elicit the production of antibodies) against modified BAs only. Mimovax researchers then tested the vaccine candidates for alteration of the disease progression in animal models. Criteria assessed included the analysis of AD pathology in the brain and performance in cognitive tests for memory and learning. The team also developed new diagnostic methods for efficacy of treatment and tracers for diagnosis and monitoring of AD in patients. The Mimovax vaccine reduced amyloid plaque load and improved spatial memory and learning in transgenic animals. Moreover, extensive testing by toxicological analysis in animals indicated the vaccine was stable and safe. Mimotope technology developed by the project has provided a firm basis for development of a vaccine for AD. Clinical trials have been ongoing to test the safety and tolerance for the vaccine in patients.