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Antibodies Could be Used to Treat Alzheimer's Disease - IVIG Blood Antibody Treatment Provides Lasting Benefits

July 18th 2006

Antibodies Could be Used to Treat Alzheimer's Disease - IVIG Blood Antibody Treatment Provides Lasting Benefits

New Hope

New York researchers say that a mixture of purified human antibodies, called intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), provides lasting benefits to patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD).  They say this is the first study that shows that IVIg stabilizes or improves cognitive function in Alzheimer patients when administered over a period of a year or more.

The compound bonds to beta amyloid (AB), which many researchers believe is a central component causing plaque buildup in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. They believe that the IVIg compound helps clear the AB from the brain and even helps block AB’s toxic effects. 


The IVIg compound has been available for 30 years and the FDA has approve IVIg for treating several immune disorders.  It has been used by hundreds of thousands of patients. 

An earlier study showed that IVIg improved or stabilized the cognitive test scores of eight patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.  The patients began to decline when the IVIg treatment was stopped. 

Basia Adamiak said “The majority of the Alzheimer patients in our study remained at or above their baseline level of cognitive performance 18 months after they first received IVIg."  Adamiak is coordinator of the study at the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. 

The researchers decided to resume IVIg at a low dose in a nine-month open-label extension study. IVIg was given to the test subjects every other week and was well-tolerated by all eight patients. Six of the eight patients benefited clinically from the resumption of IVIg.

Over the years scientists have become more suspicious of BA as being the cause or an target for their research.  Dr. Norman Relkin, director of the Memory Disorders Program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell said "The persisting clinical benefits we see as IVIg decreases spinal fluid amyloid levels suggests that beta amyloid is the right target for the next generation of Alzheimer treatments.”  


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Marsha Quinn
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