ROCHESTER, Minn. — While autoimmune cerebellar ataxia (a loss of muscle control coordination) can lead to severe disability with some patients becoming wheelchair-bound, there are factors that may help predict better immunotherapy response, according to the Mayo Clinic study published by JAMA Neurology.
Autoimmune cerebellar ataxia in adults, which usually comes on rapidly and progresses quickly, can be divided into disorders that are paraneoplastic (triggered by cancer in the body) or nonparaneoplastic (autoimmune disorders of the central nervous system unrelated to cancer). The disabling neurological effects, which can include speech, eye movement and balance, can cause unsteady walk and difficulties when swallowing. Little has been published regarding treatment responses and neurologic outcomes among patients with autoimmune cerebellar ataxia. However, at least 17 autoantibodies have been reported as causally linked to autoimmune cerebellar ataxia.
“Historically, we found cerebellar ataxia to be a hopeless disease,” says Andrew McKeon, M.B., B.Ch., M.D., a neurologist on Mayo Clinic’s Rochester campus and lead author of the study. “Although usually severe, treatment responses can be gratifying, particularly in patients with nonparaneoplastic disorders.”
Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. McKeon are available in the downloads.
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