Immunotherapy Offers New Hope on Alzheimer's

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2009 7:23 AM CDT
Researchers believe that immunoglobin, unlike other treatments, prevents the buildup of plaques in the brain that causes Alzheimer's disease.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – An immune-system booster already used in the treatment of other diseases could prove to be a powerful weapon in the fight against Alzheimer's disease, researchers have found. Analyzing the records of patients who received intravenous immunoglobulin—IVIg—they discovered that recipients were 42% less likely to develop Alzheimer's, HealthDay reports.

Researchers believe IVIg may prevent the toxic plaque that causes the disease from building up in the brain. "The current Alzheimer's drugs on the market treat the symptoms of the disease," the lead researcher says. "Immunization could treat the underlying cause." The researchers say it is too early to suggest using IVIg to treat Alzheimer's, but clinical trials testing the treatment are now under way.