Immunotherapy Treatment May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
For bladder cancer patients whose cancer has not grown into the muscle, a type of immunotherapy called bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) therapy is often administered following surgery. Since the immune system appears to play an important role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, scientists have speculated that BCG therapy may help to prevent the disease. A study by Montefiore Einstein researchers published online on May 17 in Clinical Genitourinary Cancer supports earlier findings that the use of BCG therapy correlated with a lowered risk for developing Alzheimer's disease.
A team led by Alexander Sankin, MD, reviewed the records of 1,290 racially and ethnically diverse patients treated at Montefiore Einstein between 1984 and 2020. The 25-percent of patients who received BCG treatment for non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer had a 60-percent reduced risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias compared with those patients who did not receive BCG. The analysis suggested that BCG’s possibly protective effect against dementia may be stronger in men. The authors did note, however, that larger studies involving more patients are needed to corroborate their findings.
The study’s first author is Einstein medical student Joseph Kim. Dr. Sankin is the Director of the Urology Clinical Trials Program and Associate Professor of Urology at Montefiore Einstein.
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