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Intravenous Immunoglobulin Treatment is Associated with a Reduced Risk of Developing Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 28, 2008 - The risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders (ADRD) may be reduced by about 40 percent in patients previously treated with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) according to a study presented today at the 10th International Hong Kong/Springfield Pan-Asian Symposium on Advances in Alzheimer Therapy. The findings were presented by Howard Fillit, M.D., clinical professor of geriatrics, medicine and neurobiology at The Mount Sinai-NYU Medical Center in New York, and executive director of the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation. The study was based on Surveillance Data Inc.'s (SDI's) HIPAA-compliant, longitudinal medical claims database.

IVIG -- an antibody product derived from human plasma and FDA-approved to treat other conditions, but not Alzheimer's -- has been found to contain antibodies that bind to beta-amyloid proteins, the central component of the senile plaque in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. In addition, early phase clinical studies evaluating IVIG in Alzheimer's patients have suggested that IVIG therapy may improve cognitive function. This study examined whether there is epidemiological evidence of the effect of previous IVIG treatment on the onset of ADRD.

The IVIG study was co-authored by Gregory Hess, M.D., M.B.A., vice president and chief medical officer and Jerrold Hill, Ph.D. director of outcomes research, of Surveillance Data Inc. (SDI), a leading provider of real-time, localized illness tracking and healthcare analyses for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Using SDI's anonymized medical claims data, a retrospective case-controlled analysis was conducted to evaluate the incidence of ADRD in an IVIG treated vs. untreated population. A total of 847 cases treated with IVIG were compared to 84,700 untreated controls matched by age, gender, and other risk factors. The proportion of patients diagnosed with dementia was 2.0 percent for treated cases and 4.2 percent for untreated controls (p less than .002). The relative risk of developing ADRD over time was 0.577 for treated patients vs. controls (p=.024), indicating a 42 percent lower incidence rate of dementia in patients treated with IVIG.

Hess explained, "Our increased understanding of the pathways leading to the development of Alzheimer's disease has suggested that there may be a potential protective effect of IVIG in the prevention of ADRD. The exceptionally large number of elderly patients in SDI's data warehouse made it possible to study the likelihood that IVIG could lower the incidence of this devastating disease." Speaking to the potential application of the study's findings, Fillit noted, "We encourage additional research including adequate and well-controlled clinical studies to confirm the benefits of IVIG in Alzheimer's disease."

Study Design

In the study, patients were selected from 22 million patients in the SDI data warehouse between 2000 - 2007, aged 65 or older and without an ADRD diagnosis prior to IVIG treatment or prior to study entry for controls. The analysis compared a total of 847 patients treated with IVIG and 84,700 untreated controls matched by age, gender and known ADRD risk factors: hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes and chronic kidney disease. A Cox proportional hazards model was estimated to assess the effect of IVIG treatment on the relative risk of being diagnosed with ADRD over time. Research support for the study was provided by Baxter BioScience.

An overview of the "Use of intravenous immunoglobulin is associated with a reduced risk of AD and related disorders" study is available at or Click Here (

About Surveillance Data, Inc. (SDI)

Based in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., SDI is a leading provider of longitudinal patient-level data serving the pharmaceutical, biotech and consumer healthcare industry with healthcare data since 1982. SDI's 210 employees are dedicated to patient-level data collection, analyses and reporting to advance medical and pharmaceutical care. SDI takes a consultative approach, combined with expert study design and analytical expertise to produce superior research analyses and insights. Its current client roster features the top 20 companies in the pharmaceutical/biotech industry, as well as government agencies. For more information, visit or call 610-834-0800.

About the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF)

The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) is a public charity established in 2004 to expand upon the programs initiated by the Institute for the Study of Aging (ISOA), a private foundation founded by the Estee Lauder family in 1998. The organization's sole mission is to accelerate drug discovery research to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer's disease, related dementias and cognitive aging through venture philanthropy. For more information about the ADDF, visit

Technorati Tags

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Posted: February 2008