Web Zap*Germs Archive

April 23, 2005

Immunoglobulin IVIg Antibodies Effective Against Alzheimer's

Before my mother died several years ago from complications of polyneuropathy, we had taken her every few weeks to a local hospital to receive infusions of IVIg (intravenous immunoglobulin), which slowed down her body's autoimmune response and gave her back use of her limbs.

Now a study has shown that infusions of these plasma-derived, human antibodies apparently reduce levels of Alzheimer's patients' amyloid brain plaques -- and improve their mental states.
The study included eight Alzheimer's patients treated with IVIg. After six months of treatment, seven of the patients underwent cognitive testing. The tests showed that cognitive function stopped declining in all seven patients and had actually improved in six of the seven patients.

The [New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center] researchers emphasize that it's too soon to describe IVIg as anything more than promising, and they do not recommend that doctors treat Alzheimer's patients with IVIg at this point in time. Preparations are already underway for a larger, controlled Phase II clinical trial of IVIg, the researchers said.

It would be wonderful if this treatment, which gave my mom several more years of mobility, turns out to be the "magic bullet" for Alzheimer's sufferers -- like my dad.


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