Massive amounts of money and effort are being put into researching treatments and ultimately a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. A clinical trial has been running that is using human blood-plasma transfusions to treat the disease has found that the treatments are safe and promising for those suffering from the disease. Stanford University School of Medicine investigators have reported success with this treatment in an early-phase clinical trial.
The trial conducted was specifically to test the safety, tolerability, and feasibility of administering transfusions of blood plasma from young donors to participants with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers in the study also note that there were signs suggesting improvements in the condition of the participants.
Results from the study were presented recently by Sharon Sha, MD and clinical associate professor of neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford, the principal investigator of the trial. Sha noted that it wasn’t surprising finding the infusions to be safe because blood-plasma infusions have been widely used for treating other conditions are assumed to be extremely safe.
Improvements seen in test subjects included things like remembering to take medications and being able to pay bills and prepare their own meals. The trial was set up to test a hypothesis put forth by Tony Wyss-Coray PhD who has research that shows factors in the blood of young mice can rejuvenate brain tissue and improve cognitive function in old mice.
Sha does warn that the assessments of improvements were based on caregiver reports and that with only 18 participants, the study was small. More study with a larger number of participants is needed before real conclusions can be made. The trial used plasma from donors 18-30 years old. Some participants in the trial were given the plasma, and others were given a placebo.