A new drug called Gammagard, made by Baxter International Inc has been shown to stop or delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by up to three years, according to a new study.
Doctors say that four patients who received the highest dose in early testing showed no decline on memory and cognition tests three years later. A bigger, more comprehensive study of the treatment will give results within a year.
Gammagard is a collection of antibodies from pooled blood donations that doctors think help clear the sticky plaque found in the brain of Alzheimer patients. It is administered via a blood infusion every two weeks.
Just yesterday a study came out showing that changes in the way humans walk are an early indicator of the disease before measurable amounts of cognitive functions are impacted.
For the study, 24 patients received six months of treatment followed by 12-months of treatment with Gammagard, tested in several doses. Patients were also offered an additional 18-months of a standardized dose of Gammagard treatment to test the drug’s long-term effects.
The study discovered that those who took the medicine for 36 months had the best results, with no measurable declines in cognition, memory, daily functioning and mood. Eleven patients who took the drug for 36 months had “favorable” effects on their thinking abilities, behavior and daily function.
The study was written by Dr. Norman Relkin, an associate professor of clinical neurology and neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.
The new drug cocktail, however, comes at a cost of between $2,000 and $5,000 every two weeks, and researchers are looking to see if there is a cheaper way to deliver the medicine.