Treatment with an experimental intravenous Alzheimer’s medication stabilized dementia symptoms for a sustained period in trial participants, new research reveals. Investigators called it a “first” in Alzheimer’s research.

In a double-blind placebo-controlled Phase 2 trial, researchers led by Norman Relkin, M.D., Ph.D., administered intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) to individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease every two weeks for three years. Trial participants who received the active medication experienced no decline in standard measures of cognition, memory, daily functioning and mood at the three-year endpoint, according to the study report. Participants who received the placebo treatment saw a slow decline, the authors found.

“This is the first study to report long-term stabilization of Alzheimer’s symptoms with IVIG. While the small number of participants may limit the reliability of our findings, we are very enthusiastic about the results,” Relkin said in a statement.

The findings were presented last week at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Vancouver. The research was partially funded by IVIG’s manufacturer, Baxter BioScience.