05/07/2013 12:24 EDT | Updated 07/07/2013 05:12 EDT

News Summary: Baxter drug Gammagard fails to slow Alzheimer's progression in big study

DISAPPOINTMENT: A product that Baxter International was testing failed to slow mental decline or preserve physical function in a major study of 390 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.

THE DETAILS: People who received 18 months of infusions with Gammagard fared no better than others given placebo. Gammagard is made from natural antibodies culled from donated blood. Researchers thought it might help remove amyloid, the sticky plaque that clogs Alzheimer patients' brains.

URGENT NEED: About 35 million people worldwide have dementia, and Alzheimer's is the most common type. Current treatments temporarily ease symptoms — there is no known cure.