Regular infusions of plasma-derived antibodies appear to reduce levels of &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/society/2002/06/29/31468.html ' target=_blank>Alzheimer's disease-causing brain plaques while improving patients' thinking ability, researchers report.
Buildup of beta-amyloid protein plaques in the brain is a hallmark of Alzheimer's and toxicity related to this buildup is thought to be a major cause of the disease, for which there is currently no effective treatment.
In this phase I clinical study, conducted by a team from New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, researchers gave patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's periodic infusions of a targeted antibody, called immunoglobulin (IVIg). The antibody makes its way to the brain where it targets beta-amyloid for removal.
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, reports the Forbes.
Subsequent tests and examinations showed the rate of loss of &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/columnists/2002/11/14/39497.html ' target=_blank>cognitive function reduced by between 33% and 51%. Scans also showed an increase in the brain’s use of glucose, an indication of increased activity.
The technique was developed after studies on primates. When NGF was introduced into the brains of old monkeys it not only increased the number of brain cells but restored them to near-normal size, publishes the Times Online.
Last night Rudolf Tanzi, professor of Neurology at Harvard University, welcomed the research but remained cautious. “I very much respect Professor Tuszynski but would emphasise that this is not a cure but a way of treating the symptoms of the disease.”