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Inflammatory neuropathy cause and treatment


To standardise assays for antibodies to glycolipids in human sera.
To identify antibodies to glycolipids which are diagnostically useful in inflammatory neuropathy.
To improve the management of inflammatory neuropathy with carefully co-ordinated controlled trials of promising new treatments.

Inflammatory neuropathies are acute or chronic paralysing disorders which affect more than 40,000 European citizens at any one time. INCAT participants lead international research into their cause and treatment.
We have shown that:
increased concentrations of inflammatory mediators and,
antibodies to nerve glycolipids are present in the blood of patients with inflammatory neuropathy.
These antibodies cross-react with antigens in bacteria which triggered the inflammation.
The antibodies block nerve conduction or nerve-muscle transmission.
Further our treatment trials, the largest undertaken in the world, have shown that:
5. blocking these antibodies by intravenous infusion of large amounts of normal human immunoglobulin is an effective treatment of acute inflammatory neuropathy.
6. According to our preliminary evidence intravenous immunoglobulin may also be effective in chronic inflammatory neuropathy.

INCAT will combine the resources of the leading European laboratories which have pioneered these advances with the leading glycolipid purification laboratory (CHU-NANTES) to explain in detail the cause and pathogenesis of inflammatory neuropathy. INCAT also unites the leading European neuropathy clinical trial centres to undertake trials of intravenous immunoblobulin in three types of chronic inflammatory neuropathy which would be impossible at a National level. Both interlinked components of this project thus fulfil the BIOMED 2 subsidiarity principle. The project involves the transfer of glycolipid technology between European laboratories, and development of uniform trial techniques across European clinical centres. INCAT has recruited the leading European Health Economic Assessment centre (IOP) to help demonstrate the health benefits and reduced economic costs to European community of treatment with intravenous immunoblobulin. The improved health of 40,000 citizens and reduced costs of disability from these diseases, which are currently neglected at a National level, are expected to offer significant Community Added Value.


United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy's and St Thomas's Hospitals
St Thomas's Street London Bridge
SE1 9RT London
United Kingdom

Participants (8)

Academisch Ziekenhuis Rotterdam
40,Dr. Molewaterplein
3015 GD Rotterdam
Bayerische Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
97080 Würzburg
Fondazione Centro San Raffaele del Monte Tabor - Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico
58,Via Olgettina
20132 Milano
Hospital Santa Cruz y San Pablo
167,Avenida Pare Claret
08025 Barcelona
Institute of Psychiatry
United Kingdom
De Crespigny Park Camberwell
SE5 8AF London
University of Glasgow
United Kingdom
1,345 Govan Road
G51 4TF Glasgow
Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI
47,Boulevard De L'hôpital
75651 Paris
Université de Nantes
1,Rue Gaston Viel
44035 Nantes