Is there a ray of light shining upon a new Alzheimer’s disease treatment? The results of a small research study presented this week at the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference suggest there might be and shows that the drug Gammagard may actually be effective in significantly reducing cognitive decline associated with dementia. Four Alzheimer’s patients using Gammagard showed no decline in abilities or cognition over a three year period of time, which is quite rare according to researchers in this New York Times article:
Dr. Norman Relkin of Weill Cornell Medical College, the lead investigator of the study, said the results were “remarkable” because patients with Alzheimer’s disease typically worsen within 12 months.
While more research is needed and the recent results with a relatively small test group are not conclusive, this is an exciting discovery and step in the right direction. There are still so many problems with this drug and kinks to be worked out though:
- Gammagard is incredibly expensive to produce and administer
- Gammagard is an antibody harvested from donated blood plasma
- Currently Gammagard can only be administered intravenously (by IV), there is no pill form
- Gammagard is already an approved drug used to treat immune disorders
- Gammagard can at times be in short supply for treating immune disorders and therefore not readily available for the masses afflicted with dementia
- Side effects of Gammagard include fever, chills, blood clots, and virus transmission
Obviously there is still a long way to go before Gammagard can be approved and used as a successful treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, but it is exciting to know that researchers are achieving some success in finding an effective treatment for this incurable disease. The Gammagard findings offer hope, something sorely lacking with regard to dementia, as noted in this USA Today article:
“I think what Norm’s study shows is we’re moving toward a paradigm shift in how we treat the disease,” said Reisa Sperling, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School. “I think ultimately we will find a way to treat and prevent the disease.”
Keep your fingers crossed for gamma-rays of light to shine brightly upon Gammagard to become a viable treatment option, or even better for it to be a discovery contributing to a much needed cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
Are you excited about the Gammagard results and its implications for treatment of Alzheimer’s?