Novel Ways of Using Immunoglobulin to Treat Disabling Neurological Disorders Are Being Explored

Researchers are targeting autoimmune epilepsy and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy.

By Karen MacPhail and Gabriela Espinoza, MD

July 25th, 2017

As many as one billion people worldwide suffer from more than 600 neurological disorders, according to the World Health Organization and University of California, San Francisco, respectively. Of that number, it is estimated that 6.8 million people die each year from neurological disorders ranging from epilepsy to Alzheimer’s disease.

Neurological disorders affect the central nervous systems or the peripheral nervous systems and can impair the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve or neuromuscular function.

Two research scientists were recently recognized during the Peripheral Nerve Society’s annual meeting in Barcelona for their studies of the potential role of immunoglobulin (Ig) therapy in the treatment of two neurological/neuromuscular disorders, autoimmune epilepsy (AE) and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP).

Dr. Maarten Titulaer

…it is estimated that 6.8 million people die each year from neurological disorders ranging from epilepsy to Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Maarten Titulaer, a neurologist at Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, is examining intravenous Ig (IVIG) treatment for AE with neuronal antibodies. Dr. Jean-Philippe Camdessanché from Institut NeuroMyoGène, Faculty of Medicine CHU de Saint-Etienne in Paris will study the identification, validation, and characterization of novel autoantigens in CIDP.

As many as 500,000 people worldwide might suffer from epilepsy of autoimmune origin. Patients with AE have multiple seizures per month and are often unresponsive to anti-epileptic drugs. There has been a body of evidence indicating that IVIG may be a potential treatment for AE with neuronal antibodies. Dr. Titulaer’s study is designed to further evaluate this with a prospective design.

There has been a body of evidence indicating that IVIG may be a potential treatment for AE with neuronal antibodies.

“Our hope for research efforts like this is to be able to contribute to finding effective treatment options for autoimmune epilepsy patients with neuronal antibodies who are currently unresponsive to anti-epileptic drugs,” said Dr. Titulaer.

Dr. Jean-Philippe Camdessanché

While it is accepted that CIDP is immune mediated, the target antigen for the pathogenic autoantibodies is known for very few patients.  Dr. Camdessanché’s research objective is to help close this knowledge gap.  “The diagnosis of CIDP is complex and lasts an average of more than two years,” Dr. Camdessanché noted.  “We are using innovative strategies to find a biomarker that can reduce this long time span in order to begin much earlier with targeted therapies.”

The research of Drs. Titulaer and Camdessanché is supported by the CSL Behring Interlaken Leadership Awards program, which symbolizes CSL Behring’s promise to unlock the potential and promise of therapies that may improve the quality of life and treatment options for patients living with a neurological disorder. We are excited to see the results of Dr. Titulaer’s and Dr. Camdessanché’s research and are hopeful that new discoveries will be made that can advance the treatment of AE and CIDP.

The…program has awarded more than $5 million in research grants…for studies of Ig application in neurological/neuromuscular disorders.

The Interlaken Leadership Awards program has awarded more than $5 million in research grants over the past seven years for studies of Ig application in a variety of neurological/neuromuscular disorders. Proposals that may advance innovative medical research and knowledge about the potential role of Ig therapy to improve the lives of patients with disabling neurological/neuromuscular conditions are considered. All proposals are evaluated based on scientific merit, strength of hypothesis, relevance to neuroimmunology and feasibility.

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Karen MacPhail is CSL Behring’s Senior Director, Immunology and Dr. Gabriela Espinoza is Director Global Medical Affairs, Immunoglobulins.

 

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