After receiving 18 months of treatments with Gammagard, patients in the study did not see any reduction in mental deterioration compared to those taking a placebo. The results dampen enthusiasm for the drug, which gained attention last year after having been reported to have held off mental decline in four Alzheimer’s patents for three years in an earlier study, the Associated Press noted.
A Baxter executive said that the company remained interested in the drug, pointing out that that patients with moderate Alzheimer’s and those with a particular gene for the disease who received more infusions of the drug appeared to show some improvement.
The full results of the trial will be published in July.
Currently marketed as a a blood disorder treatment, Gammagard is manufactured from immune globulin, harvested from donated blood. It had been hoped that the drug could help clear amyloid, a substance that mitigates cognitive functions from Alzheimer’s patients’ brains.
Last year, consumer advocacy group Public Citizen sued the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) alleging that high doses of the Alzheimer’s drug Aricept could cause fatal side effects.