A pilot study on the use of interferon beta-1a in early Alzheimer's disease subjects.

Despite the fact that multiple sclerosis (MS) and Alzheimer's disease
(AD) share common neuroimmunological features, interferon beta 1a
(IFNβ1a), the well-established treatment for the prevention of disease
progression and cognitive decline in MS patients, has never been used in
AD. We evaluated the safety and efficacy of IFNβ1a in subjects affected
by mild-to-moderate AD in a double-blind, randomized,
placebo-controlled, multicenter pilot study. Forty-two early Alzheimer's
patients were randomized to receive either a 22 mcg subcutaneous
injection of IFNβ1a or placebo three times per week. A treatment period
of 28 weeks was followed by 24 weeks of observation. IFNβ1a was well
tolerated and adverse events were infrequent and mild to moderate.
Although not statistically significant, a reduction in disease
progression during follow-up was measured in IFNβ1a-treated patients by
the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale cognitive subscale.
Interestingly, the treatment group showed significant improvements in
the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living and Physical
Self-maintenance Scale. This study suggests that IFNβ1a is safe and well
tolerated in early AD patients, and its possible beneficial role should
be further investigated in larger studies.

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