Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) as a treatment for Alzheimer's is currently being studied in a Phase 3 clinical trial and, as reported at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) this past week, it's demonstrating some remarkable success. After receiving IVIG 0.4g/kg every two weeks for 36 months, participants displayed no decline in cognitive functioning, memory, daily functioning and mood as measured on several tests. In other words, they remained stable for 3 years.
For the first 6 months, the double-blind study compared those receiving IVIG to those receiving a placebo. After 6 months, all participants received IVIG. Researchers found that while no decline was seen in participants who were treated from the beginning of the study, those who initially received the placebo for 6 months and those who received a different dose than 0.4g/kg did demonstrate a decline. However, the placebo group's decline slowed when they were receiving IVIG. According to the AAIC, participants tolerated the IVIG well.
I do have to note that the number of people in this study is very small- 16 patients ended up participating for the full 36 months. However, the success demonstrated is this study is quite significant.
As mentioned, a Phase 3 clinical trial is already underway to continue testing, with results coming in less than a year. I'll update as I hear more.
For those of you who'd like to know a little more about IVIG, the AAIC explains it this way:
"IVIG is a blood product that is administered intravenously. Each dose contains pooled antibodies extracted from the plasma of more than 1,000 blood donors. IVIG is given to immune deficient patients who have decreased or absent antibody production capabilities to prevent infections. It is mainly used in immune deficiencies, autoimmune diseases, and acute infections."