Publications by authors named "Richard S Finkel"

121 Publications

The clinical and molecular spectrum of QRICH1 associated neurodevelopmental disorder.

Hum Mutat 2021 Dec 2. Epub 2021 Dec 2.

Section of Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, CO, USA.

De novo variants in QRICH1 (Glutamine-rich protein 1) has recently been reported in 11 individuals with intellectual disability. The function of QRICH1 is largely unknown but it is likely to play a key role in the unfolded response of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress through transcriptional control of proteostasis. In this study, we present 27 additional individuals and delineate the clinical and molecular spectrum of the individuals (n=38) with QRICH1 variants. The main clinical features were mild to moderate developmental delay/intellectual disability (71%), non-specific facial dysmorphism (92%) and hypotonia (39%). Additional findings included poor weight gain (29%), short stature (29%), autism spectrum disorder (29%), seizures (24%) and scoliosis (18%). Minor structural brain abnormalities were reported in 52% of the individuals with brain imaging. Truncating or splice variants were found in 28 individuals and 10 had missense variants. Four variants were inherited from mildly affected parents. This study confirms that heterozygous QRICH1 variants cause a neurodevelopmental disorder including short stature and expands the phenotypic spectrum to include poor weight gain, scoliosis, hypotonia, minor structural brain anomalies, and seizures. Inherited variants from mildly affected parents are reported for the first time, suggesting variable expressivity. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.24308DOI Listing
December 2021

Preventing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: insights from pre-symptomatic neurodegenerative diseases.

Brain 2021 Oct 22. Epub 2021 Oct 22.

Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Significant progress has been made in understanding the pre-symptomatic phase of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). While much is still unknown, advances in other neurodegenerative diseases offer valuable insights. Indeed, it is increasingly clear that the well-recognized clinical syndromes of Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), Huntington's disease (HD), spinal muscular atrophy, and frontotemporal dementia are also each preceded by a pre-symptomatic or prodromal period of varying duration, during which the underlying disease process unfolds, with associated compensatory changes and loss of inherent system redundancy. Key insights from these diseases highlight opportunities for discovery in ALS. The development of biomarkers reflecting amyloid and tau has led to a shift in defining AD based on inferred underlying histopathology. PD is unique among neurodegenerative diseases in the number and diversity of non-genetic biomarkers of pre-symptomatic disease, most notably REM-sleep behavior disorder. HD benefits from an ability to predict the likely timing of clinically manifest disease based on age and CAG-repeat length alongside reliable neuroimaging markers of atrophy. SMA clinical trials have highlighted the transformational value of early therapeutic intervention, and studies in FTD illustrate the differential role of biomarkers based on genotype. Similar advances in ALS would transform our understanding of key events in pathogenesis, thereby dramatically accelerating progress towards disease prevention. Deciphering the biology of pre-symptomatic ALS relies upon a clear conceptual framework for defining the earliest stages of disease. Clinically manifest ALS may emerge abruptly, especially among those who harbor genetic mutations associated with rapidly progressive ALS. However, the disease may also evolve more gradually, revealing a prodromal period of mild motor impairment preceding phenoconversion to clinically manifest disease. Similarly, cognitive and behavioral impairment, when present, may emerge gradually, evolving through a prodromal period of mild cognitive impairment or mild behavioral impairment before progression to ALS. Biomarkers are critically important to studying pre-symptomatic ALS and essential to efforts to intervene therapeutically before clinically manifest disease emerges. The use of non-genetic biomarkers, however, presents challenges related to counseling, informed consent, communication of results, and limited protections afforded by existing legislation. Experiences from pre-symptomatic genetic testing and counseling, and the legal protections against discrimination based on genetic data, may serve as a guide. Building upon what we have learned-more broadly from other pre-symptomatic neurodegenerative diseases and specifically from ALS gene mutation carriers-we present a roadmap to early intervention, and perhaps even disease prevention, for all forms of ALS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awab404DOI Listing
October 2021

Association Between Body Mass Index and Disability in Children With Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease.

Neurology 2021 10 7;97(17):e1727-e1736. Epub 2021 Sep 7.

From the University of Sydney (G.A.D., S.P.G., M.P.M.), Faculty of Medicine and Health; Children's Hospital at Westmead (G.A.D., S.P.G., K.M.D.C., J.B., M.P.M.); University of Sydney (K.M.D.C., M.J.M., J.B.), School of Health Sciences; Faculty of Health and Medicine (J.N.B.), University of Newcastle, Australia; Departments of Pediatrics (R.R.S.) and Neurology (M.E.S.), Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City; Division of Neurology (S.W.Y.) and Department of Occupational Therapy (T.E.), Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; Department of Neurology (S.W.Y., T.E.), Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta (I.M., M.F., E.P., D.P.), Milan, Italy; Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases (M.L., M.M.R.), University College London, Queen Square; University College London Institute of Child Health & Great Ormond Street Hospital (T.B., F.M.), London, England; Translational Neurosciences (Pediatrics) (R.S.F.), St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN; and Department of Neurology (J.E.S., K.J.E., D.N.H.), University of Rochester, NY.

Background And Objectives: This study examined the association between body mass index (BMI) and disability in children with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT).

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 477 patients with CMT who were 3 to 20 years of age from the Inherited Neuropathy Consortium and 316 age- and sex-matched healthy children from the 1,000 Norms Project. BMI was categorized according to the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) criteria, and BMI categorization was compared with healthy children. IOTF categories (adult equivalent BMI cut points) were severely underweight (BMI <17 kg/m), underweight (BMI ≥17-<18.5 kg/m), healthy weight (BMI ≥18.5-<25 kg/m), overweight (BMI ≥25-<30 kg/m), and obese (BMI ≥30 kg/m). Scores on the 0 to 44-point CMT Pediatric Scale (CMTPedS), a well-validated measure of disability, were examined in relation to BMI.

Results: There was a higher proportion of children with CMT categorized as severely underweight (5.7% vs 0.3%), underweight (10.3% vs 5.1%), and obese (7.3% vs 3.8%) ( < 0.05). Fewer children with CMT were categorized as healthy weight (61.8% vs 74.4%) ( < 0.05), and the proportion of overweight (14.9% vs 16.5%) between groups was similar. CMTPedS scores (mean ± SD) for weight categories were as follows: severely underweight 27 ± 9, underweight 20 ± 8, healthy weight 17 ± 9, overweight 17 ± 9, and obese 22 ± 10. Compared to children with a healthy weight with CMT, being severely underweight was associated with being more disabled ( < 0.001), as was being obese ( = 0.015).

Discussion: The proportion of children with CMT who are underweight or obese is higher compared to age- and sex-matched healthy children. In children with CMT, being underweight or obese is associated with greater disability, when compared to children with CMT of healthy weight.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000012725DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8605613PMC
October 2021

Nusinersen Treatment in Adults With Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

Neurol Clin Pract 2021 Jun;11(3):e317-e327

Departments of Neurology (TD, CW, SDY, KAH, JS, JWD), Rehabilitation (CEM), and Radiology (MZ, MW), Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA; Departments of Biostatistics and Computational Biology (MPM), and Neurology (MPM and WBM), University of Rochester Medical Center, NY; Department of Neurology (AP,BTD), Boston Children's Hospital, MA; Department of Neurology (DCD), Columbia University, New York; Department of Neurology (AMG EAK, ZZ) Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PA; and Department of Pediatrics (RSF) Nemours Children's Hospital, Orlando, FL.

Objective: To determine changes in motor and respiratory function after treatment with nusinersen in adults with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) during the first two years of commercial availability in the USA.

Methods: Data were collected prospectively on adult (age >17 years at treatment initiation) SMA participants in the Pediatric Neuromuscular Clinical Research (PNCR) Network. Baseline assessments of SMA outcomes including the Expanded Hammersmith Functional Rating Scale (HFMSE), Revised Upper Limb Module (RULM), and 6-Minute Walk Test (6MWT) occurred <5 months before treatment, and post-treatment assessments were made up to 24 months after nusinersen initation. Patient-reported experiences, safety laboratory tests and adverse events were monitored. The mean annual rate of change over time was determined for outcome measures using linear mixed effects models.

Results: Forty-two adult SMA participants (mean age: 34 years, range 17-66) receiving nusinersen for a mean of 12.5 months (range 3-24 months) were assessed. Several motor and respiratory measures showed improvement distinct from the progressive decline typically seen in untreated adults. Participants also reported qualitative improvements including muscle strength, stamina, breathing and bulbar related outcomes. All participants tolerated nusinersen with normal surveillance labs and no significant adverse events.

Conclusions: Trends of improvement emerged in functional motor, patient-reported, and respiratory measures, suggesting nusinersen may be efficacious in adults with SMA. Larger well-controlled studies and additional outcome measures are needed to firmly establish the efficacy of nusinersen in adults with SMA.

Classification Of Evidence: This study provides Class IV evidence regarding nusinersen tolerability and efficacy based on reported side effects and pulmonary and physical therapy assessments in an adult SMA cohort.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/CPJ.0000000000001033DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8382360PMC
June 2021

Clinical Trial and Postmarketing Safety of Onasemnogene Abeparvovec Therapy.

Drug Saf 2021 Oct 12;44(10):1109-1119. Epub 2021 Aug 12.

Novartis Gene Therapies, Inc., Bannockburn, IL, USA.

Introduction: This is the first description of safety data for intravenous onasemnogene abeparvovec, the only approved systemically administered gene-replacement therapy for spinal muscular atrophy.

Objective: We comprehensively assessed the safety of intravenous onasemnogene abeparvovec from preclinical studies, clinical studies, and postmarketing data.

Methods: Single-dose toxicity studies were performed in neonatal mice and juvenile or neonatal cynomolgus nonhuman primates (NHPs). Data presented are from a composite of preclinical studies, seven clinical trials, and postmarketing sources (clinical trials, n = 102 patients; postmarketing surveillance, n = 665 reported adverse event [AE] cases). In clinical trials, safety was assessed through AE monitoring, vital-sign and cardiac assessments, laboratory evaluations, physical examinations, and concomitant medication use. AE reporting and available objective clinical data from postmarketing programs were evaluated.

Results: The main target organs of toxicity in mice were the heart and liver. Dorsal root ganglia (DRG) inflammation was observed in NHPs. Patients exhibited no evidence of sensory neuropathy upon clinical examination. In clinical trials, 101/102 patients experienced at least one treatment-emergent AE. In total, 50 patients experienced serious AEs, including 11 considered treatment related. AEs consistent with hepatotoxicity resolved with prednisolone in clinical trials. Transient decreases in mean platelet count were detected but were without bleeding complications. Thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) was observed in the postmarketing setting. No evidence of intracardiac thrombi was observed for NHPs or patients.

Conclusions: Risks associated with onasemnogene abeparvovec can be anticipated, monitored, and managed. Hepatotoxicity events resolved with prednisolone. Thrombocytopenia was transient. TMA may require medical intervention. Important potential risks include cardiac AEs and DRG toxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40264-021-01107-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8473343PMC
October 2021

Psychometric properties of the PEDI-CAT for children and youth with spinal muscular atrophy.

J Pediatr Rehabil Med 2021 ;14(3):451-461

Department of Neurology, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the psychometric properties of the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory-Computer Adaptive Test (PEDI-CAT) in children and youth with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).

Methods: In this prospective cross-sectional study, caregivers of children and youth with SMA completed the PEDI-CAT Daily Activities and Mobility domains. A subset of caregivers completed a questionnaire about the measure.

Results: Mean ranks of scaled scores for Daily Activities (n = 96) and Mobility (n = 95) domains were significantly different across the three SMA types and across the three motor classifications. Normative scores indicated that 85 participants (89.5%) had limitations in Mobility and 51 in Daily Activities (53.1%). Floor effects were observed in≤10.4% of the sample for Daily Activities and Mobility. On average, caregivers completed the Mobility domain in 5.4 minutes and the Daily Activities domain in 3.3 minutes. Most caregivers reported that they provided meaningful information (92.1%), were willing to use the PEDI-CAT format again (79%), and suggested adding content including power wheelchair mobility items.

Conclusion: Convergent validity was demonstrated for the Daily Activities and Mobility domains. Normative scores detected limitations in Mobility and Daily Activity performance for most participants with SMA. The PEDI-CATwas feasible to administer and caregivers expressed willingness to complete the PEDI-CAT in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/PRM-190664DOI Listing
January 2021

Assessing the ability of boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy age 4-7 years to swallow softgel capsules: Clinical trial experience with edasalonexent.

J Clin Pharm Ther 2021 Jul 14. Epub 2021 Jul 14.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA.

What Is Known And Objective: There is limited information on acceptability of solid dosage forms by young patients with neuromuscular disorders such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Capsule size selection and ability to swallow the NF-κB inhibitor edasalonexent were assessed in males 4-7 years of age with DMD enrolled in clinical trials for a new therapeutic.

Methods: The Phase 3 PolarisDMD randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial enrolled 131 patients from 8 countries. The Phase 2 MoveDMD trial enrolled 31 patients in the United States. As part of enrolment criteria, these trials assessed the ability to swallow softgel 100 mg (~10 mm) or 250 mg (~15 mm) capsules formulated with a phosphatidylcholine-containing coating. Supportive strategies included pill-swallowing techniques and aids.

Results: Most (97%; 175/181) patients screened were able to swallow capsules. In Phase 2 and 3, respectively, 77% (24/31) and 61% (80/131) of enrolled patients selected the larger capsule and among those selecting the smaller capsule, most transitioned to the larger capsule. There were no obvious geographical differences in ability to swallow capsules and size selection was not correlated with age. Compliance was high (92%-98%) through 52 weeks of dosing with no discontinuations due to capsule burden.

What Is New And Conclusion: Swallowing of capsules was not a barrier for drug administration in young patients with DMD. Capsule formulations may be an acceptable alternative to liquid formulations for children as young as 4 years of age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jcpt.13478DOI Listing
July 2021

Maybe too much of a good thing in gene therapy.

Nat Neurosci 2021 07;24(7):901-902

Neurogenetics Branch, NINDS, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41593-021-00882-wDOI Listing
July 2021

A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Global Phase 3 Study of Edasalonexent in Pediatric Patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: Results of the PolarisDMD Trial.

J Neuromuscul Dis 2021 ;8(5):769-784

Catabasis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Boston, MA, USA.

Background: Edasalonexent (CAT-1004) is an orally-administered novel small molecule drug designed to inhibit NF-κB and potentially reduce inflammation and fibrosis to improve muscle function and thereby slow disease progression and muscle decline in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

Objective: This international, randomized 2 : 1, placebo-controlled, phase 3 study in patients ≥4 - < 8 years old with DMD due to any dystrophin mutation examined the effect of edasalonexent (100 mg/kg/day) compared to placebo over 52 weeks.

Methods: Endpoints were changes in the North Star Ambulatory Assessment (NSAA; primary) and timed function tests (TFTs; secondary). Assessment of health-related function used the Pediatric Outcomes Data Collection tool (PODCI).

Results: One hundred thirty one patients received edasalonexent (n = 88) and placebo (n = 43). At week 52, differences between edasalonexent and placebo for NSAA total score and TFTs were not statistically significant, although there were consistently less functional declines in the edasalonexent group. A pre-specified analysis by age demonstrated that younger patients (≤6.0 years) showed more robust and statistically significant differences between edasalonexent and placebo for some assessments. Treatment was well-tolerated and the majority of adverse events were mild, and most commonly involved the gastrointestinal system (primarily diarrhea).

Conclusions: Edasalonexent was generally well-tolerated with a manageable safety profile at the dose of 100 mg/kg/day. Although edasalonexent did not achieve statistical significance for improvement in primary and secondary functional endpoints for assessment of DMD, subgroup analysis suggested that edasalonexent may slow disease progression if initiated before 6 years of age. (NCT03703882).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JND-210689DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8543277PMC
November 2021

Treatment of infantile-onset spinal muscular atrophy with nusinersen: final report of a phase 2, open-label, multicentre, dose-escalation study.

Lancet Child Adolesc Health 2021 07 3;5(7):491-500. Epub 2021 Jun 3.

Biogen, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Background: Nusinersen showed a favourable benefit-risk profile in participants with infantile-onset spinal muscular atrophy at the interim analysis of a phase 2 clinical study. We present the study's final analysis, assessing the efficacy and safety of nusinersen over 3 years.

Methods: This phase 2, open-label, multicentre, dose-escalation study was done in three university hospital sites in the USA and one in Canada. Infants aged between 3 weeks and 6 months with two or three SMN2 gene copies and infantile-onset spinal muscular atrophy were eligible for inclusion. Eligible participants received multiple intrathecal loading doses of 6 mg equivalent nusinersen (cohort 1) or 12 mg dose equivalent (cohort 2), followed by maintenance doses of 12 mg equivalent nusinersen. The protocol amendment on Jan 25, 2016, changed the primary efficacy endpoint from safety and tolerability to reaching motor milestones, assessed using the Hammersmith Infant Neurological Examination section 2 (HINE-2) at the last study visit, in all participants who successfully completed the loading dose period and day 92 assessment. The statistical analysis plan was amended on Feb 10, 2016, to include additional analyses of the subgroup of participants with two SMN2 copies. Adverse events were assessed in all participants who received at least one dose of study treatment. The study is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT01839656).

Findings: Between May 3, 2013, and July 9, 2014, 20 symptomatic participants with infantile-onset spinal muscular atrophy (12 boys and 8 girls; median age at diagnosis 78 days [range 0-154]) were enrolled. Median time on study was 36·2 months (IQR 20·6-41·3). The primary endpoint of an incremental improvement in HINE-2 developmental motor milestones was reached by 12 (63%) of 19 evaluable participants. In the 13 participants with two SMN2 copies treated with 12 mg nusinersen, the HINE-2 motor milestone total score increased steadily from a baseline mean of 1·46 (SD 0·52) to 11·86 (6·18) at day 1135, representing a clinically significant change of 10·43 (6·05). At study closure (Aug 21, 2017), 15 (75%) of 20 participants were alive. 101 serious adverse events were reported in 16 (80%) of 20 participants; all five deaths (one in cohort 1 and four in cohort 2) were likely to be related to spinal muscular atrophy disease progression.

Interpretation: Our findings are consistent with other trials of nusinersen and show improved survival and attainment of motor milestones over 3 years in patients with infantile-onset spinal muscular atrophy, with a favourable safety profile.

Funding: Biogen and Ionis Pharmaceuticals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(21)00100-0DOI Listing
July 2021

Population pharmacokinetics-based recommendations for a single delayed or missed dose of nusinersen.

Neuromuscul Disord 2021 04 20;31(4):310-318. Epub 2021 Feb 20.

Center for Experimental Neurotherapeutics, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA. Electronic address:

Nusinersen is an antisense oligonucleotide approved for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy. The drug is given intrathecally at 12 mg, beginning with 3 loading doses at 2-week intervals, a fourth loading dose 30 days thereafter, and maintenance doses at 4-month intervals. This population pharmacokinetic model was developed to clarify how to maintain targeted nusinersen exposure after an unforeseen one-time delay or missed dose. Simulations demonstrated that the impact of a one-time delay in dosing or a missed dose on median cerebrospinal fluid exposures depended on duration of interruption and the regimen phase in which it occurred. Delays in loading doses delayed reaching the peak trough concentration by approximately the duration of the interruption. Resumption of the regimen as soon as possible resulted in achieving steady state trough concentration upon completion of the loading phase. A short delay (30-90 days) during the maintenance phase led to prolonged lower median cerebrospinal fluid concentration if all subsequent doses were shifted by the same 4-month interval. However, administration of the delayed dose, followed by the subsequent dose as originally scheduled, rapidly restored trough concentration. If a dose must be delayed, patients should return to the original dosing schedule as soon as possible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nmd.2021.02.014DOI Listing
April 2021

Adeno-associated virus serotype 9 antibodies in patients screened for treatment with onasemnogene abeparvovec.

Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev 2021 Jun 24;21:76-82. Epub 2021 Feb 24.

Center for Gene Therapy, Nationwide Children's Hospital, 700 Children's Drive, Columbus, OH 43205, USA.

Spinal muscular atrophy is a progressive, recessively inherited monogenic neurologic disease, the genetic root cause of which is the absence of a functional gene. Onasemnogene abeparvovec (formerly AVXS-101) is an adeno-associated virus serotype 9 vector-based gene therapy that delivers a fully functional copy of the human gene. We report anti-adeno-associated virus serotype 9 antibody titers for patients with spinal muscular atrophy when they were screened for eligibility in the onasemnogene abeparvovec clinical trials (intravenous and intrathecal administration) and managed access programs (intravenous). Through December 31, 2019, 196 patients and 155 biologic mothers were screened for anti-adeno-associated virus serotype 9 binding antibodies with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Of these, 15 patients (7.7%) and 23 biologic mothers (14.8%) had titers >1:50 on their initial screening tests. Eleven patients (5.6%) had elevated titers on their final screening tests. The low percentage of patients with exclusionary antibody titers indicates that most infants with spinal muscular atrophy type 1 should be able to receive onasemnogene abeparvovec. Retesting may identify patients whose antibody titers later decrease to below the threshold for treatment, and retesting should be considered for patients with anti-adeno-associated virus serotype 9 antibody titers >1:50.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.omtm.2021.02.014DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7973120PMC
June 2021

Onasemnogene abeparvovec gene therapy for symptomatic infantile-onset spinal muscular atrophy in patients with two copies of SMN2 (STR1VE): an open-label, single-arm, multicentre, phase 3 trial.

Lancet Neurol 2021 04 17;20(4):284-293. Epub 2021 Mar 17.

Center for Gene Therapy, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH, USA; Department of Pediatrics, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA; Department of Neurology, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.

Background: Spinal muscular atrophy type 1 is a motor neuron disorder resulting in death or the need for permanent ventilation by age 2 years. We aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of onasemnogene abeparvovec (previously known as AVXS-101), a gene therapy delivering the survival motor neuron gene (SMN), in symptomatic patients (identified through clinical examination) with infantile-onset spinal muscular atrophy.

Methods: STR1VE was an open-label, single-arm, single-dose, phase 3 trial done at 12 hospitals and universities in the USA. Eligible patients had to be younger than 6 months and have spinal muscular atrophy with biallelic SMN1 mutations (deletion or point mutations) and one or two copies of SMN2. Patients received a one-time intravenous infusion of onasemnogene abeparvovec (1·1 × 10 vector genomes per kg) for 30-60 min. During the outpatient follow-up, patients were assessed once per week, beginning at day 7 post-infusion for 4 weeks and then once per month until the end of the study (age 18 months or early termination). Coprimary efficacy outcomes were independent sitting for 30 s or longer (Bayley-III item 26) at the 18 month of age study visit and survival (absence of death or permanent ventilation) at age 14 months. Safety was assessed through evaluation of adverse events, concomitant medication usage, physical examinations, vital sign assessments, cardiac assessments, and laboratory evaluation. Primary efficacy endpoints for the intention-to-treat population were compared with untreated infants aged 6 months or younger (n=23) with spinal muscular atrophy type 1 (biallelic deletion of SMN1 and two copies of SMN2) from the Pediatric Neuromuscular Clinical Research (PNCR) dataset. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03306277 (completed).

Findings: From Oct 24, 2017, to Nov 12, 2019, 22 patients with spinal muscular atrophy type 1 were eligible and received onasemnogene abeparvovec. 13 (59%, 97·5% CI 36-100) of 22 patients achieved functional independent sitting for 30 s or longer at the 18 month of age study visit (vs 0 of 23 patients in the untreated PNCR cohort; p<0·0001). 20 patients (91%, 79-100]) survived free from permanent ventilation at age 14 months (vs 6 [26%], 8-44; p<0·0001 in the untreated PNCR cohort). All patients who received onasemnogene abeparvovec had at least one adverse event (most common was pyrexia). The most frequently reported serious adverse events were bronchiolitis, pneumonia, respiratory distress, and respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis. Three serious adverse events were related or possibly related to the treatment (two patients had elevated hepatic aminotransferases, and one had hydrocephalus).

Interpretation: Results from this multicentre trial build on findings from the phase 1 START study by showing safety and efficacy of commercial grade onasemnogene abeparvovec. Onasemnogene abeparvovec showed statistical superiority and clinically meaningful responses when compared with observations from the PNCR natural history cohort. The favourable benefit-risk profile shown in this study supports the use of onasemnogene abeparvovec for treatment of symptomatic patients with genetic or clinical characteristics predictive of infantile-onset spinal muscular atrophy type 1.

Funding: Novartis Gene Therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(21)00001-6DOI Listing
April 2021

Disease-modifying effects of edasalonexent, an NF-κB inhibitor, in young boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy: Results of the MoveDMD phase 2 and open label extension trial.

Neuromuscul Disord 2021 05 4;31(5):385-396. Epub 2021 Feb 4.

Catabasis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Boston, MA, United States.

Chronic activation of NF-κB is a key driver of muscle degeneration and suppression of muscle regeneration in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Edasalonexent (CAT-1004) is an orally-administered novel small molecule that covalently links two bioactive compounds (salicylic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) that inhibit NF-κB. This placebo-controlled, proof-of-concept phase 2 study with open-label extension in boys ≥4-<8 years old with any dystrophin mutation examined the effect of edasalonexent (67 or 100 mg/kg/day) compared to placebo or off-treatment control. Endpoints were safety/tolerability, change from baseline in MRI T relaxation time of lower leg muscles and functional assessment, as well as pharmacodynamics and biomarkers. Treatment was well-tolerated and the majority of adverse events were mild, and most commonly of the gastrointestinal system (primarily diarrhea). There were no serious adverse events in the edasalonexent groups. Edasalonexent 100 mg/kg was associated with slowing of disease progression and preservation of muscle function compared to an off-treatment control period, with decrease in levels of NF-κB-regulated genes and improvements in biomarkers of muscle health and inflammation. These results support investigating edasalonexent in future trials and have informed the design of the edasalonexent phase 3 clinical trial in boys with Duchenne.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nmd.2021.02.001DOI Listing
May 2021

Reldesemtiv in Patients with Spinal Muscular Atrophy: a Phase 2 Hypothesis-Generating Study.

Neurotherapeutics 2021 04 23;18(2):1127-1136. Epub 2021 Feb 23.

Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.

This phase 2, double-blind, placebo-controlled, hypothesis-generating study evaluated the effects of oral reldesemtiv, a fast skeletal muscle troponin activator, in patients with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Patients ≥ 12 years of age with type II, III, or IV SMA were randomized into 2 sequential, ascending reldesemtiv dosing cohorts (cohort 1: 150 mg bid or placebo [2:1]; cohort 2: 450 mg bid or placebo [2:1]). The primary objective was to determine potential pharmacodynamic effects of reldesemtiv on 8 outcome measures in SMA, including 6-minute walk distance (6MWD) and maximum expiratory pressure (MEP). Changes from baseline to weeks 4 and 8 were determined. Pharmacokinetics and safety were also evaluated. Patients were randomized to reldesemtiv 150 mg, 450 mg, or placebo (24, 20, and 26, respectively). The change from baseline in 6MWD was greater for reldesemtiv 450 mg than for placebo at weeks 4 and 8 (least squares [LS] mean difference, 35.6 m [p = 0.0037] and 24.9 m [p = 0.058], respectively). Changes from baseline in MEP at week 8 on reldesemtiv 150 and 450 mg were significantly greater than those on placebo (LS mean differences, 11.7 [p = 0.038] and 13.2 cm HO [p = 0.03], respectively). For 6MWD and MEP, significant changes from placebo were seen in the highest reldesemtiv peak plasma concentration quartile (C > 3.29 μg/mL; LS mean differences, 43.3 m [p = 0.010] and 28.8 cm HO [p = 0.0002], respectively). Both dose levels of reldesemtiv were well tolerated. Results suggest reldesemtiv may offer clinical benefit and support evaluation in larger SMA patient populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13311-020-01004-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8423982PMC
April 2021

Natural history of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2A: a large international multicentre study.

Brain 2020 12;143(12):3589-3602

Unit of Rare Neurodegenerative and Neurometabolic Diseases, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy.

Mitofusin-2 (MFN2) is one of two ubiquitously expressed homologous proteins in eukaryote cells, playing a critical role in mitochondrial fusion. Mutations in MFN2 (most commonly autosomal dominant) cause Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2A (CMT2A), the commonest axonal form of CMT, with significant allelic heterogeneity. Previous, moderately-sized, cross sectional genotype-phenotype studies of CMT2A have described the phenotypic spectrum of the disease, but longitudinal natural history studies are lacking. In this large multicentre prospective cohort study of 196 patients with dominant and autosomal recessive CMT2A, we present an in-depth genotype-phenotype study of the baseline characteristics of patients with CMT2A and longitudinal data (1-2 years) to describe the natural history. A childhood onset of autosomal dominant CMT2A is the most predictive marker of significant disease severity and is independent of the disease duration. When compared to adult onset autosomal dominant CMT2A, it is associated with significantly higher rates of use of ankle-foot orthoses, full-time use of wheelchair, dexterity difficulties and also has significantly higher CMT Examination Score (CMTESv2) and CMT Neuropathy Score (CMTNSv2) at initial assessment. Analysis of longitudinal data using the CMTESv2 and its Rasch-weighted counterpart, CMTESv2-R, show that over 1 year, the CMTESv2 increases significantly in autosomal dominant CMT2A (mean change 0.84 ± 2.42; two-tailed paired t-test P = 0.039). Furthermore, over 2 years both the CMTESv2 (mean change 0.97 ± 1.77; two-tailed paired t-test P = 0.003) and the CMTESv2-R (mean change 1.21 ± 2.52; two-tailed paired t-test P = 0.009) increase significantly with respective standardized response means of 0.55 and 0.48. In the paediatric CMT2A population (autosomal dominant and autosomal recessive CMT2A grouped together), the CMT Pediatric Scale increases significantly both over 1 year (mean change 2.24 ± 3.09; two-tailed paired t-test P = 0.009) and over 2 years (mean change 4.00 ± 3.79; two-tailed paired t-test P = 0.031) with respective standardized response means of 0.72 and 1.06. This cross-sectional and longitudinal study of the largest CMT2A cohort reported to date provides guidance for variant interpretation, informs prognosis and also provides natural history data that will guide clinical trial design.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa323DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7805791PMC
December 2020

Development and Validation of the Pediatric Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease Quality of Life Outcome Measure.

Ann Neurol 2021 02 7;89(2):369-379. Epub 2020 Dec 7.

Department of Neurology, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA, USA.

Objective: Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) reduces health-related quality of life (QOL), especially in children. Defining QOL in pediatric CMT can help physicians monitor disease burden clinically and in trials. We identified items pertaining to QOL in children with CMT and conducted validation studies to develop a pediatric CMT-specific QOL outcome measure (pCMT-QOL).

Methods: Development and validation of the pCMT-QOL patient-reported outcome measure were iterative, involving identifying relevant domains, item pool generation, prospective pilot testing and clinical assessments, structured focus-group interviews, and psychometric testing. Testing was conducted in children with CMT seen at participating sites from the USA, United Kingdom, and Australia.

Results: We conducted systematic literature reviews and analysis of generic QOL measures to identify 6 domains relevant to QOL in children with CMT. Sixty items corresponding to those domains were developed de novo, or identified from literature review and CMT-specific modification of items from the pediatric Neuro-QOL measures. The draft version underwent prospective feasibility and face content validity assessments to develop a working version of the pCMT-QOL measure. From 2010 to 2016, the pCMT-QOL working version was administered to 398 children aged 8 to 18 years seen at the participating study sites of the Inherited Neuropathies Consortium. The resulting data underwent rigorous psychometric analysis, including factor analysis, test-retest reliability, internal consistency, convergent validity, item response theory analysis, and longitudinal analysis, to develop the final pCMT-QOL patient-reported outcome measure.

Interpretation: The pCMT-QOL patient-reported outcome measure is a reliable, valid, and sensitive measure of health-related QOL for children with CMT. ANN NEUROL 2021;89:369-379.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.25966DOI Listing
February 2021

Respiratory Trajectories in Type 2 and 3 Spinal Muscular Atrophy in the iSMAC Cohort Study.

Neurology 2021 01 16;96(4):e587-e599. Epub 2020 Oct 16.

From the Dubowitz Neuromuscular Centre (F.T., M.S., M.L.M., F.M.) and Population, Policy and Practice Programme (D.R.), UCL GOS Institute of Child Health, London, UK; DINOGMI, University of Genoa (F.T.), IRCCS Istituto G. Gaslini, Italy; NIHR Great Ormond Street Hospital Biomedical Research Centre (D.R., F.M.), Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, University College London, and Great Ormond Street Hospital Trust, UK; Paediatric Neurology (G.C., M.P., E.M.), Catholic University; Centro Clinico Nemo (G.C., M.P., E.M.), Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCSS, Rome, Italy; John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre (R.M.L., C.M.-B.), Newcastle University and Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK; Departments of Neurology and Pediatrics (J.M., D.C.D.V.) and Departments of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine (J.M.), Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, NY; Paediatric Neurology and Centro Clinico Nemo (V.S., E.A.), Milan; Unit of Neuromuscular and Neurodegenerative Disorders (A.D., E.B.), Post-Graduate Bambino Gesù Children's Research Hospital, IRCCS, Rome; Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (S.M.), University of Messina Paediatric Neurology and Nemo Sud Clinical Centre; Center of Translational and Experimental Myology (C.B.), IRCCS Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genova, Italy; University Hospitals Birmingham NHSFT (D.P.); Leeds Children Hospital (A.-M.C.); Evelina Children's Hospital (V.G.), London; The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (T.W.), Oswestry; Sheffield Children's Hospital (M.O.), UK; Department of Neurology (B.T.D.), Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, MA; Stanford University (J.D.), Medical Centre, Palo Alto, CA; Divisions of Pediatric Neurology (E.A.K.), Pulmonology (O.H.M.) and Physical Therapy (A.M.G.), The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; and Divisions of Neurology (R.S.F.) and Pulmonary Medicine (A.A.N.N.), Department of Pediatrics, Nemours Children's Hospital, Orlando, FL.

Objective: To describe the respiratory trajectories and their correlation with motor function in an international pediatric cohort of patients with type 2 and nonambulant type 3 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Methods: This was an 8-year retrospective observational study of patients in the International SMA Consortium (iSMAc) natural history study. We retrieved anthropometrics, forced vital capacity (FVC) absolute, FVC percent predicted (FVC%P), and noninvasive ventilation (NIV) requirement. Hammersmith Functional Motor Scale (HFMS) and revised Performance of Upper Limb (RULM) scores were correlated with respiratory function. We excluded patients in interventional clinical trials and on nusinersen commercial therapy.

Results: There were 437 patients with SMA: 348 with type 2 and 89 with nonambulant type 3. Mean age at first visit was 6.9 (±4.4) and 11.1 (±4) years. In SMA type 2, FVC%P declined by 4.2%/y from 5 to 13 years, followed by a slower decline (1.0%/y). In type 3, FVC%P declined by 6.3%/y between 8 and 13 years, followed by a slower decline (0.9%/y). Thirty-nine percent with SMA type 2% and 9% with type 3 required NIV at a median age 5.0 (1.8-16.6) and 15.1 (13.8-16.3) years. Eighty-four percent with SMA type 2% and 80% with type 3 had scoliosis; 54% and 46% required surgery, which did not significantly affect respiratory decline. FVC%P positively correlated with HFMS and RULM scores in both subtypes.

Conclusions: In SMA type 2 and nonambulant type 3, lung function declines differently, with a common leveling after age 13 years. Lung and motor function correlated in both subtypes. Our data further define the milder SMA phenotypes and provide information to benchmark the long-term efficacy of new treatments for SMA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000011051DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7905794PMC
January 2021

Efficacy and safety of vamorolone in Duchenne muscular dystrophy: An 18-month interim analysis of a non-randomized open-label extension study.

PLoS Med 2020 09 21;17(9):e1003222. Epub 2020 Sep 21.

University of California, Davis, Davis, California, United States of America.

Background: Treatment with corticosteroids is recommended for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients to slow the progression of weakness. However, chronic corticosteroid treatment causes significant morbidities. Vamorolone is a first-in-class anti-inflammatory investigational drug that has shown evidence of efficacy in DMD after 24 weeks of treatment at 2.0 or 6.0 mg/kg/day. Here, open-label efficacy and safety experience of vamorolone was evaluated over a period of 18 months in trial participants with DMD.

Methods And Findings: A multicenter, open-label, 24-week trial (VBP15-003) with a 24-month long-term extension (VBP15-LTE) was conducted by the Cooperative International Neuromuscular Research Group (CINRG) and evaluated drug-related effects of vamorolone on motor outcomes and corticosteroid-associated safety concerns. The study was carried out in Canada, US, UK, Australia, Sweden, and Israel, from 2016 to 2019. This report covers the initial 24-week trial and the first 12 months of the VBP15-LTE trial (total treatment period 18 months). DMD trial participants (males, 4 to <7 years at entry) treated with 2.0 or 6.0 mg/kg/day vamorolone for the full 18-month period (n = 23) showed clinical improvement of all motor outcomes from baseline to month 18 (time to stand velocity, p = 0.012 [95% CI 0.010, 0.068 event/second]; run/walk 10 meters velocity, p < 0.001 [95% CI 0.220, 0.491 meters/second]; climb 4 stairs velocity, p = 0.001 [95% CI 0.034, 0.105 event/second]; 6-minute walk test, p = 0.001 [95% CI 31.14, 93.38 meters]; North Star Ambulatory Assessment, p < 0.001 [95% CI 2.702, 6.662 points]). Outcomes in vamorolone-treated DMD patients (n = 46) were compared to group-matched participants in the CINRG Duchenne Natural History Study (corticosteroid-naïve, n = 19; corticosteroid-treated, n = 68) over a similar 18-month period. Time to stand was not significantly different between vamorolone-treated and corticosteroid-naïve participants (p = 0.088; least squares [LS] mean 0.042 [95% CI -0.007, 0.091]), but vamorolone-treated participants showed significant improvement compared to group-matched corticosteroid-naïve participants for run/walk 10 meters velocity (p = 0.003; LS mean 0.286 [95% CI 0.104, 0.469]) and climb 4 stairs velocity (p = 0.027; LS mean 0.059 [95% CI 0.007, 0.111]). The vamorolone-related improvements were similar in magnitude to corticosteroid-related improvements. Corticosteroid-treated participants showed stunting of growth, whereas vamorolone-treated trial participants did not (p < 0.001; LS mean 15.86 [95% CI 8.51, 23.22]). Physician-reported incidences of adverse events (AEs) for Cushingoid appearance, hirsutism, weight gain, and behavior change were less for vamorolone than published incidences for prednisone and deflazacort. Key limitations to the study were the open-label design, and use of external comparators.

Conclusions: We observed that vamorolone treatment was associated with improvements in some motor outcomes as compared with corticosteroid-naïve individuals over an 18-month treatment period. We found that fewer physician-reported AEs occurred with vamorolone than have been reported for treatment with prednisone and deflazacort, and that vamorolone treatment did not cause the stunting of growth seen with these corticosteroids. This Phase IIa study provides Class III evidence to support benefit of motor function in young boys with DMD treated with vamorolone 2.0 to 6.0 mg/kg/day, with a favorable safety profile. A Phase III RCT is underway to further investigate safety and efficacy.

Trial Registration: Clinical trials were registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov, and the links to each trial are as follows (as provided in manuscript text): VBP15-002 [NCT02760264] VBP15-003 [NCT02760277] VBP15-LTE [NCT03038399].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003222DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7505441PMC
September 2020

Clinical Variability in Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type III.

Ann Neurol 2020 12 2;88(6):1109-1117. Epub 2020 Oct 2.

Department of Child Neurology, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

Objective: We report natural history data in a large cohort of 199 patients with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type III assessed using the Hammersmith Functional Motor Scale Expanded (HFMSE). The aim of the study was to establish the annual rate and possible patterns of progression according to a number of variables, such as age of onset, age at assessment, SMN2 copy number, and functional status.

Methods: HFMSE longitudinal changes were assessed using piecewise linear mixed-effects models. The dependency in the data due to repeated measures was accounted for by a random intercept per individual and an unstructured covariance R matrix was used as correlation structure. An additional descriptive analysis was performed for 123 patients, for a total of 375 12-month assessments.

Results: A break point at age 7 years was set for the whole cohort and for SMA IIIA and IIIB. Age, SMA type, and ambulatory status were significantly associated with changes in mean HFMSE score, whereas gender and SMN2 copy number were not. The increase in response before the break point of age 7 years is significant only for SMA IIIA (β = 1.79, p < 0.0001). After the break point, the change in the rate of HFMSE score significantly decrease for both SMA IIIA (β = -1.15, p < 0.0001) and IIIB (β = -0.69, p = 0.002).

Interpretation: Our findings contribute to the understanding of the natural history of SMA type III and will be helpful in the interpretation of the real-world data of patients treated with commercially available drugs. ANN NEUROL 2020;88:1109-1117.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.25900DOI Listing
December 2020

Meta-analyses of ataluren randomized controlled trials in nonsense mutation Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

J Comp Eff Res 2020 10 27;9(14):973-984. Epub 2020 Aug 27.

PTC Therapeutics Inc., South Plainfield, NJ 07080, USA.

Assess the totality of efficacy evidence for ataluren in patients with nonsense mutation Duchenne muscular dystrophy (nmDMD). Data from the two completed randomized controlled trials (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00592553; NCT01826487) of ataluren in nmDMD were combined to examine the intent-to-treat (ITT) populations and two patient subgroups (baseline 6-min walk distance [6MWD] ≥300-<400 or <400 m). Meta-analyses examined 6MWD change from baseline to week 48. Statistically significant differences in 6MWD change with ataluren versus placebo were observed across all three meta-analyses. Least-squares mean difference (95% CI): ITT (n = 342), +17.2 (0.2-34.1) m, p = 0.0473; ≥300-<400 m (n = 143), +43.9 (18.2-69.6) m, p = 0.0008; <400 m (n = 216), +27.7 (6.4-49.0) m, p = 0.0109. These meta-analyses support previous evidence for ataluren in slowing disease progression versus placebo in patients with nmDMD over 48 weeks. Treatment benefit was most evident in patients with a baseline 6MWD ≥300-<400 m (the ambulatory transition phase), thereby informing future trial design.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/cer-2020-0095DOI Listing
October 2020

Editorial: Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Evolutions and Revolutions of Modern Therapy.

Front Neurol 2020 28;11:783. Epub 2020 Jul 28.

Department of Neurology, University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2020.00783DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7399626PMC
July 2020

Refining clinical trial inclusion criteria to optimize the standardized response mean of the CMTPedS.

Ann Clin Transl Neurol 2020 09 6;7(9):1713-1715. Epub 2020 Aug 6.

School of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

The CMT Pediatric Scale (CMTPedS) is a reliable, valid, and responsive clinical outcome measure of disability in children with CMT. The aim of this study was to identify the most responsive patient subset(s), based on the standardized response mean (SRM), to optimize the CMTPedS as a primary outcome measure for upcoming clinical trials. Analysis was based on a 2-year natural history data from 187 children aged 3-20 years with a range of CMT genetic subtypes. Subsets based on age (3-8 years), disability level (CMTPedS score 0-14), and CMT type (CMT1A) increased the SRM of the CMTPedS considerably. Refining the inclusion criteria in clinical trials to younger, mildly affected cases of CMT1A optimizes the responsiveness of the CMTPedS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acn3.51145DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7480902PMC
September 2020

GGPS1 Mutations Cause Muscular Dystrophy/Hearing Loss/Ovarian Insufficiency Syndrome.

Ann Neurol 2020 08 18;88(2):332-347. Epub 2020 Jun 18.

Botnar Research Centre, National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre Oxford, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Objective: A hitherto undescribed phenotype of early onset muscular dystrophy associated with sensorineural hearing loss and primary ovarian insufficiency was initially identified in 2 siblings and in subsequent patients with a similar constellation of findings. The goal of this study was to understand the genetic and molecular etiology of this condition.

Methods: We applied whole exome sequencing (WES) superimposed on shared haplotype regions to identify the initial biallelic variants in GGPS1 followed by GGPS1 Sanger sequencing or WES in 5 additional families with the same phenotype. Molecular modeling, biochemical analysis, laser membrane injury assay, and the generation of a Y259C knock-in mouse were done.

Results: A total of 11 patients in 6 families carrying 5 different biallelic pathogenic variants in specific domains of GGPS1 were identified. GGPS1 encodes geranylgeranyl diphosphate synthase in the mevalonate/isoprenoid pathway, which catalyzes the synthesis of geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate, the lipid precursor of geranylgeranylated proteins including small guanosine triphosphatases. In addition to proximal weakness, all but one patient presented with congenital sensorineural hearing loss, and all postpubertal females had primary ovarian insufficiency. Muscle histology was dystrophic, with ultrastructural evidence of autophagic material and large mitochondria in the most severe cases. There was delayed membrane healing after laser injury in patient-derived myogenic cells, and a knock-in mouse of one of the mutations (Y259C) resulted in prenatal lethality.

Interpretation: The identification of specific GGPS1 mutations defines the cause of a unique form of muscular dystrophy with hearing loss and ovarian insufficiency and points to a novel pathway for this clinical constellation. ANN NEUROL 2020;88:332-347.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.25772DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7496979PMC
August 2020

Spinal muscular atrophy care in the COVID-19 pandemic era.

Muscle Nerve 2020 07 3;62(1):46-49. Epub 2020 May 3.

Department of Neurology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, USA.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in reorganization of healthcare settings affecting the delivery of clinical care to patients with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). There is a concern that patients with SMA may be at increased risk of manifesting severe symptoms of COVID-19. Currently approved therapies for SMA improve survival and motor function; however, their delivery requires an increased exposure to the health system and a dedicated healthcare team. In this study, we discuss consensus recommendations pertaining to care of SMA patients during the pandemic. We highlight that SMA treatments should not be perceived as elective. Decisions regarding the delay of treatments should be made with consideration of the potential risks of COVID-19 exposure and the risk of that delay. We emphasize the importance of collaborative treatment decisions between the patient, family, and healthcare provider, considering any geographic- or institution-specific policies and precautions for COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mus.26903DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7264534PMC
July 2020

Longitudinal natural history of type I spinal muscular atrophy: a critical review.

Orphanet J Rare Dis 2020 04 5;15(1):84. Epub 2020 Apr 5.

Nemours Children's Hospital, University of Central Florida College of Medicine, Orlando, USA.

Background: The advent of new therapies in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) has highlighted the need to have natural history data for comparison. Natural history studies using structured assessments in type I however are very limited. We identified and reviewed all the existing longitudinal history data in infants with type I SMA first assessed before the age of 7 months with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Infant Test of Neuromuscular Disorders (CHOP INTEND).

Main Text: Three longitudinal natural history studies, two performed in the United States and one in Italy, were identified. The different study design of these three studies made it possible for the cumulative dataset to include the full spectrum of severity; from infants with neonatal onset to those with a milder phenotype that were not always included in the individual natural history studies. The cumulative analysis confirmed that, even in a larger cohort, there was never an improvement on the CHOP INTEND over time. This was true for all the infants, irrespective of their age or baseline CHOP INTEND scores. Infants with neonatal onset had low CHOP INTEND scores and a fast decline. The relatively large number of patients allowed us to calculate the rate of progression in subgroups identified according to SMN2 copy number and baseline CHOP INTEND scores.

Conclusion: A detailed understanding of the existing data is important, as it will be difficult to acquire new systematic longitudinal history data because of the availability of disease modifying therapies. The cumulative findings in this review help to better understand the variability of natural history data in untreated patients and will be of use for comparison to the real world patients treated with the recently approved therapies that have shown encouraging results in clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13023-020-01356-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7132885PMC
April 2020

Scoliosis Surgery Significantly Impacts Motor Abilities in Higher-functioning Individuals with Spinal Muscular Atrophy1.

J Neuromuscul Dis 2020 ;7(2):183-192

Department of Neurology, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.

Background: Weakness affects motor performance and causes skeletal deformities in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Scoliosis surgery decision-making is based on curve progression, pulmonary function, and skeletal maturity. Benefits include quality of life, sitting balance, and endurance. Post-operative functional decline has not been formally assessed.

Objective: To assess the impact of scoliosis surgery on motor function in SMA types 2 and 3.

Methods: Prospective data were acquired during a multicenter natural history study. Seventeen participants (12 type 2, 5 type 3 with 4 of the 5 having lost the ability to ambulate) had motor function assessed using the Hammersmith Functional Motor Scale Expanded (HFMSE) performed pre-operatively and at least 3 months post-operatively. Independent t-tests determined group differences based on post-operative HFMSE changes, age, and baseline HFMSE scores.

Results: Three participants had minimal HFMSE changes (±2 points) representing stability (mean change = -0.7). Fourteen participants lost >3 points, representing a clinically meaningful progressive change (mean change = -12.1, SD = 8.9). No participant improved >2 points. There were no age differences between stable and progressive groups (p = 0.278), but there were significant differences between baseline HFMSE (p = 0.006) and change scores (p = 0.001). Post-operative changes were permanent over time.

Conclusions: Scoliosis surgery has an immediate impact on function. Baseline HFMSE scores anticipate post-operative loss as higher motor function scores were associated with worse decline. Instrumentation that includes fixation to the pelvis reduces flexibility, limiting the ability for compensatory maneuvers. These observations provide information to alert clinicians regarding surgical risk and to counsel families.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JND-190462DOI Listing
November 2020

A longitudinal study of CMT1A using Rasch analysis based CMT neuropathy and examination scores.

Neurology 2020 03 11;94(9):e884-e896. Epub 2020 Feb 11.

From the Department of Neurology (V.F., S.S., S.A.K.), University of Colorado Denver, Aurora; Department of Neurology (G.A.), Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Hartford; Department of Neurology (C.B., S.F., T.G., L.G., R.R.S., J.W., M.E.S.), University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City; Health Informatics Institute (K.D., C.A.K.), University of South Florida, Tampa; University of Sydney and The Children's Hospital at Westmead (J.B.), New South Wales, Australia; Department of Neurology (J.D., C.E.S.), Stanford University, CA; Department of Neurology (S.F., J.L., S.R., R.R.S. , M.E.S.), Wayne State University, Detroit, MI; Department of Neurology (R.S.F.), Nemours Children's Hospital, Orlando, FL; Department of Neurology (D.N.H.), University of Rochester, NY; MRC Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases (M.L., M.M.R.), UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, London, UK; Department of Neurology (R.A.L.), Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA; Department of Neurology (J.L.), Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN; Departments of Neurology and Neuroscience (T.E.L., C.J.S.), John Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD; Department of Child Neurology (I.M., E.P.) and Department of Clinical Neurosciences (C.P., G.P.,* D.P.), Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy; Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri (G.P.*), Neurorehabilitation Unit, Scientific Institute of Telese Terme (BN), Italy; Department of Neurology (F.M.), UCL Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, UK; Department of Neurology (S.R.), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; PRA Health Sciences (S.R.), Raleigh, NC; Department of Neurology (M.S.) and Department of Human Genetics and Hussman Institute for Human Genomics (S.Z.), University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, FL; Department of Neurology (R.S.), Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Department of Neurology (D.W.), University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Department of Neurology (S.W.Y., S.S.S.), Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; and Department of Neurology (S.W.Y.), Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PA.

Objective: To evaluate the sensitivity of Rasch analysis-based, weighted Charcot-Marie-Tooth Neuropathy and Examination Scores (CMTNS-R and CMTES-R) to clinical progression in patients with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A (CMT1A).

Methods: Patients with CMT1A from 18 sites of the Inherited Neuropathies Consortium were evaluated between 2009 and 2018. Weighted CMTNS and CMTES modified category responses were developed with Rasch analysis of the standard scores. Change from baseline for CMTNS-R and CMTES-R was estimated with longitudinal regression models.

Results: Baseline CMTNS-R and CMTES-R scores were available for 517 and 1,177 participants, respectively. Mean ± SD age of participants with available CMTES-R scores was 41 ± 18 (range 4-87) years, and 56% were female. Follow-up CMTES-R assessments at 1, 2, and 3 years were available for 377, 321, and 244 patients. A mixed regression model showed significant change in CMTES-R score at years 2 through 6 compared to baseline (mean change from baseline 0.59 points at 2 years, = 0.0004, n = 321). Compared to the original CMTES, the CMTES-R revealed a 55% improvement in the standardized response mean (mean change/SD change) at 2 years (0.17 vs 0.11). Change in CMTES-R at 2 years was greatest in mildly to moderately affected patients (1.48-point mean change, 95% confidence interval 0.99-1.97, < 0.0001, for baseline CMTES-R score 0-9).

Conclusion: The CMTES-R demonstrates change over time in patients with CMT1A and is more sensitive than the original CMTES. The CMTES-R was most sensitive to change in patients with mild to moderate baseline disease severity and failed to capture progression in patients with severe CMT1A.

Clinicaltrialsgov Identifier: NCT01193075.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000009035DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7238948PMC
March 2020

RESTORE: A Prospective Multinational Registry of Patients with Genetically Confirmed Spinal Muscular Atrophy - Rationale and Study Design.

J Neuromuscul Dis 2020 ;7(2):145-152

Oxford Neuromuscular Center, Oxford University, UK.

Background: Dramatic improvements in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) treatment have changed the prognosis for patients with this disease, leading to important new questions. Gathering representative, real-world data about the long-term efficacy and safety of emerging SMA interventions is essential to document their impact on patients and caregivers.

Objectives: This registry will assess outcomes in patients with genetically confirmed SMA and provide information on the effectiveness and long-term safety of approved and emerging treatments.

Design And Methods: RESTORE is a prospective, multicenter, multinational observational registry. Patients will be managed according to usual clinical practice. Both newly recruitedSMAtreatment centers and sites involved in existing SMA registries, including iSMAC, Treat-NMD, French SMA Assistance Publique- Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), Cure-SMA, SMArtCARE, will be eligible to participate; de novo; sites already participating in another registry may be included via consortium agreements. Data from patients enrolled in partnering registries will be shared with the RESTORE Registry and data for newly diagnosed patients will be added upon enrollment. Patients will be enrolled over a 5-year period and followed for 15 years or until death. Assessments will include SMA history and treatment, pulmonary, nutritional, and motor milestones, healthcare resource utilization, work productivity, activity impairment, adverse events, quality of life, caregiver burden, and survival.Status:Recruitment started in September 2018. As of January 3, 2020, 64 patients were enrolled at 25 participating sites.

Conclusions: The RESTORE Registry has begun recruiting recently diagnosed patients with genetically confirmed SMA, enabling assessment of both short- and long-term patient outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JND-190451DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7739962PMC
November 2020
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