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Gloria Kiley: Boldly Enrolling in a Clinical Trial at 70
Gloria Kiley’s mother died of Alzheimer’s disease. But no one knew she had it when she was alive. “She was never diagnosed until she passed away,” says Gloria, 70. A brain study, post-mortem, revealed her mother’s cause of death. So when Gloria “began forgetting where I put my keys” about six years ago, her family was concerned. They grew even more concerned, says her daughter Dawn Kiley, when her memory issues began to accelerate. “About three years ago, we started recognizing that it was getting progressively worse,” recalls Dawn. “She was forgetting things more frequently, like when to pick up my daughter from high school. She would forget until the last second, or we would have to remind her.”
Sometimes they would have conversations “and the next day it would be as if we didn’t have those conversations,” says Dawn. After seeing her general practitioner, Gloria was referred to Sutter neurologist Shawn Kile, M.D., for evaluation. When she found out he was conducting a clinical trial in which patients were being tested with a promising new anti-Alzheimer’s medication, she eagerly signed up.
She was not afraid. “It was really neat,” Gloria says. “I went every two weeks for maybe six or eight times and got an infusion.” Medicine usually doesn’t affect her much, says Gloria, and neither did this. “I didn’t have any kind of a reaction,” she says, “and I wasn’t expecting one.” Daughter Dawn is very proud. “A lot of people are in denial about facing these types of things head-on,” she says. “I’m so very proud of the fact that she’s proactive and is not afraid. Instead, she’s always asking, ‘What can we do about this?’” The study, under way at Sutter’s Memory Clinic, is exploring the efficacy of intravenous immunoglobulin, or IVIG, in patients ages 50 to 85 with mild cognitive impairment. Gloria, who had been diagnosed as in the very early stages of possible dementia, was a perfect candidate.
Having watched her mother’s demise, Gloria likes the idea that she’s contributing in some small way to scientific progress. “If it works out to be good, we would be able to use that drug,” she says. “I just figure the more we learn, the better everybody’s going to be.”