Results of a phase two clinical trial suggest an immunotherapy treatment may be able to stabilise Alzheimer’s symptoms over three years. Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College, in New York, tested intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) – a treatment that is currently given to people with immune deficiencies – in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
After an initial six-month trial, in which 12 people received IVIG and 12 received a placebo, the researchers ran an extension trial in which all the participants were given IVIG. They found that those who received a specific dose of IVIG (0.4g/kg every two weeks) for the whole study had no change in their cognitive symptoms, while those who began on a placebo or received different doses of IVIG saw a significant decline in these symptoms.
The results were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2012 this week.
Dr Eric Karran, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“This small study has turned up some interesting results, but it’s important to note that there were not enough people in this trial for us to draw any firm conclusions from the findings. One limitation of this study was that after the initial six-month trial, all the participants received the same treatment, meaning the researchers did not have a control group to provide a comparison for their results. We would need to see results from large-scale clinical trials to tell whether this treatment has the potential to help people with Alzheimer’s disease.”
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