Josep Dalmau, MD, PhD, leads study that finds tumor removal and immunotherapy can reverse progress of neurological disease

October 15, 2008

The Washington Post

Quick tumor removal and immunotherapy can reverse the progress of a newly recognized neurological disease called anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis which can occur when a tumor causes the immune system to produce antibodies that disrupt NMDA receptors, which play a crucial role in brain function. The disease mainly affects women -- about 90 percent of cases -- but is also found in men and children. The first patients identified were young women with ovarian tumors. They had serious psychosis or memory problems, rapidly progressing to multiple serious neurological problems requiring intensive care, said study lead author Josep Dalmau, MD, PhD, Director Neuro-oncology lab in the Department of Neurology, and colleagues.

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