X-linked Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 5 (CMTX5), Arts syndrome, and non-syndromic sensorineural deafness (DFN2) are allelic syndromes, caused by reduced activity of phosphoribosylpyrophosphate synthetase 1 (PRS-I) due to loss-of-function mutations in PRPS1. As only few families have been described, knowledge about the relation between these syndromes, the phenotypic spectrum in patients and female carriers, and the relation to underlying PRS-I activity is limited.
We investigated a family with a novel PRPS1 mutation (c.830A > C, p.Gln277Pro) by extensive phenotyping, MRI, and genetic and enzymatic tests.
The male index subject presented with an overlap of CMTX5 and Arts syndrome features, whereas his sister presented with prelingual DFN2. Both showed mild parietal and cerebellar atrophy on MRI. Enzymatically, PRS-I activity was undetectable in the index subject, reduced in his less affected sister, and normal in his unaffected mother.
Our findings demonstrate that CMTX5, Arts syndrome and DFN2 are phenotypic clusters on an intrafamilial continuum, including overlapping phenotypes even within individuals. The respective phenotypic presentation seems to be determined by the exact PRPS1 mutation and the residual enzyme activity, the latter being largely influenced by the degree of skewed X-inactivation. Finally, our findings show that brain atrophy might be more common in PRPS1-disorders than previously thought.
Ataxia; Early onset ataxia; Genetics; Hearing loss; Optic atrophy; Behr syndrome
Pontocerebellar hypoplasia (PCH) represents a group of neurodegenerative disorders with prenatal onset. Eight subtypes have been described thus far (PCH1-8) based on clinical and genetic features. Common characteristics include hypoplasia and atrophy of the cerebellum, variable pontine atrophy, and severe mental and motor impairments. PCH1 is distinctly characterized by the combination with degeneration of spinal motor neurons. Recently, mutations in the exosome component 3 gene (EXOSC3) have been identified in approximately half of the patients with PCH subtype 1.
We selected a cohort of 99 PCH patients (90 families) tested negative for mutations in the TSEN genes, RARS2, VRK1 and CASK. Patients in this cohort were referred with a tentative diagnose PCH type 1, 2, 4, 7 or unclassified PCH. Genetic analysis of the EXOSC3 gene was performed using Sanger sequencing. Clinical data, MR images and autopsy reports of patients positive for EXOSC3 mutations were analyzed.
EXOSC3 mutations were found in twelve families with PCH subtype 1, and were not found in patients with other PCH subtypes. Identified mutations included a large deletion, nonsense and missense mutations. Examination of clinical data reveals a prolonged disease course in patients with a homozygous p.D132A mutation. MRI shows variable pontine hypoplasia in EXOSC3 mediated PCH, where the pons is largely preserved in patients with a homozygous p.D132A mutation, but attenuated in patients with other mutations. Additionally, bilateral cerebellar cysts were found in patients compound heterozygous for a p.D132A mutation and a nonsense allele.
EXOSC3 mediated PCH shows clear genotype-phenotype correlations. A homozygous p.D132A mutation leads to PCH with possible survival into early puberty, and preservation of the pons. Compound heterozygosity for a p.D132A mutation and a nonsense or p.Y109N allele, a homozygous p.G31A mutation or a p.G135E mutation causes a more rapidly progressive course leading to death in infancy and attenuation of the ventral pons.
Our findings imply a clear correlation between genetic mutation and clinical outcome in EXOSC3 mediated PCH, including variable involvement of the pons.
Pontocerebellar hypoplasia; Neurodegeneration; EXOSC3 gene; Genotype-phenotype correlations
The growth in expenditure on orphan medicinal products (OMP) across Europe has been identified as a concern. Estimates of future expenditure in Europe have suggested that OMPs could account for a significant proportion of total pharmaceutical expenditure in some countries, but few of these forecasts have been well validated. This analysis aims to establish a robust forecast of the future budget impact of OMPs on the healthcare systems in Sweden and France.
A dynamic forecasting model was created to estimate the budget impact of OMPs in Sweden and France between 2013 and 2020. The model used historical data on OMP designation and approval rates to predict the number of new OMPs coming to the market. Average OMP sales were estimated for each year post-launch by regression analysis of historical sales data. Total forecast sales were compared with expected sales of all pharmaceuticals in each country to quantify the relative budget impact.
The model predicts that by 2020, 152 OMPs will have marketing authorization in Europe. The base case OMP budget impacts are forecast to grow from 2.7% in Sweden and 3.2% in France of total drug expenditure in 2013 to 4.1% in Sweden and 4.9% in France by 2020. The principal driver of expenditure growth is the number of new OMPs obtaining OMP designation. This is tempered by the slowing success rate for new approvals and the loss of intellectual property protection on existing orphan medicines. Given the forward-looking nature of the analysis, uncertainty exists around model parameters and sensitivity analysis found peak year budget impact varying between 2% and 11%.
The budget impact of OMPs in Sweden and France is likely to remain sustainable over time and a relatively small proportion of total pharmaceutical expenditure. This forecast could be affected by changes in the success rate for OMP approvals, average cost of OMPs, and the type of companies developing OMPs.
Orphan medicines; Budget impact; Health economics; Europe
There is growing recognition that the current research-and-development (R&D) and innovation-regulation ecosystem could be made more efficient to stimulate and support access to innovative therapies for those patients with rare, life-threatening diseases for which there are no adequate licensed therapies. New and progressive thinking on the principles and processes of drug development and regulation are needed in rare disease settings in order to ensure developments are financially sustainable. This paper presents perspectives on the current and emerging schemes for accelerating development of and access to medicines for rare diseases in the European Union.
Orphan medicinal products; Rare diseases; Adaptive licensing; Patient access
Mucopolysaccharidosis IVA (MPS IVA) is a rare lysosomal storage disorder caused by N-acetylgalactosamine-6-sulfatase deficiency, which catalyzes a step in the catabolism of glycosaminoglycans, keratan sulfate and chondroitin-6-sulfate. This disease has a variable age of onset and rate of progression.
A retrospective analysis of medical records of 24 patients with MPS IVA (11 males, 13 females; current mean age ± SD, 12.6 ± 6.6 years; age range, 1.4-29.4 years) seen at 6 medical centers in Taiwan from January 1996 through June 2013 was performed.
Mean ages of onset of symptoms and confirmed diagnosis were 2.0 ± 1.6 and 5.7 ± 4.5 years, respectively. The most prevalent clinical manifestations were kyphosis (100%), pectus carinatum (96%), abnormal gait (93%), striking short trunk dwarfism (92%), genu valgum (92%), and valvular heart disease (91%). Eight patients (33%) experienced at least one surgical procedure with the most common being ear tube insertion (25%), adenoidectomy (17%), tonsillectomy (13%), supraglottoplasty (13%), spinal decompression (13%), and spinal fusion (13%). The most prevalent cardiac valve abnormalities were aortic stenosis (45%) and mitral regurgitation (45%). At the time of the study, 8 out of 24 patients (33%) have died at the mean age of 17.2 ± 7.7 years.
An understanding of the natural history involved in MPS IVA may allow early diagnosis of the disease. All affected Taiwanese patients experienced significant functional limitations. Adequate evaluations and timely management may improve clinical outcomes and quality of life.
Clinical manifestations; Diagnosis; History; Management; Mucopolysaccharidosis IVA
Oligosaccharidoses, which belong to the lysosomal storage diseases, are inherited metabolic disorders due to the absence or the loss of function of one of the enzymes involved in the catabolic pathway of glycoproteins and indirectly of glycosphingolipids. This enzymatic deficiency typically results in the abnormal accumulation of uncompletely degraded oligosaccharides in the urine. Since the clinical features of many of these disorders are not specific for a single enzyme deficiency, unambiguous screening is critical to limit the number of costly enzyme assays which otherwise must be performed.
Here we provide evidence for the advantages of using a MALDI-TOF/TOF (matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight) mass spectrometric (MS) method for screening oligosaccharidoses. Urine samples from previously diagnosed patients or from unaffected subjects were randomly divided into a training set and a blind testing set. Samples were directly analyzed without prior treatment.
The characteristic MS and MS/MS molecular profiles obtained allowed us to identify fucosidosis, aspartylglucosaminuria, GM1 gangliosidosis, Sandhoff disease, α-mannosidosis, sialidosis and mucolipidoses type II and III.
This method, which is easily run in less than 30 minutes, is performed in a single step, and is sensitive and specific. Invaluable for clinical chemistry purposes this MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometry procedure is semi-automatizable and suitable for the urinary screening of oligosacharidoses.
Oligosaccharidoses; Mass spectrometry; MALDI-TOF/TOF
Metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD) is a rare, genetic neurodegenerative disease. It leads to progressive demyelination resulting in regression of development and early death. With regard to experimental therapies, knowledge of the natural course of the disease is highly important. We aimed to analyse onset and character of first symptoms in MLD and to provide detailed natural course data concerning language and cognition.
Patients with MLD were recruited nationwide within the scope of the German research network LEUKONET. 59 patients’ questionnaires (23 late-infantile, 36 juvenile) were analysed.
Time from first symptoms (at a median age of 1.5 years in late-infantile and 6 years in juvenile MLD) to diagnosis took one year in late-infantile and two years in juvenile patients on average. Gait disturbances and abnormal movement patterns were first signs in all patients with late-infantile and in most with juvenile MLD. Onset in the latter was additionally characterized by problems in concentration, behaviour and fine motor function (p = 0.0011, p < 0.0001, and p = 0.0012). Half of late-infantile patients did not learn to speak in complete sentences after an initially normal language acquisition. They showed a rapid language decline with first language difficulties at a median age of 2.5 years and complete loss of expressive language within several months (median age 32, range 22–47 months). This was followed by total loss of communication at a median age of around four years. In juvenile patients, language decline was more protracted, and problems in concentration and behaviour were followed by decline in skills for reading, writing and calculating around four years after disease onset.
Our data reflect the natural course of decline in language and cognition in late-infantile and juvenile MLD in a large cohort over a long observation period. This is especially relevant to juvenile patients where the disease course is protracted and prospective studies are hardly feasible. Knowledge of first symptoms may lead to earlier diagnosis and subsequently to a better outcome following therapeutic intervention. Our data may serve as a reference for individual treatment decisions and for evaluation of clinical outcome after treatment intervention.
Metachromatic leukodystrophy; Natural course; Onset and first symptoms; Decline of language and cognition; Reference data
Glycogenosis type II or Pompe disease is an autosomal-recessive lysosomal storage disease due to mutations in the gene encoding acid alpha-glucosidase (GAA), an enzyme required for lysosomal glycogen degradation. The disease predominantly affects the skeletal and respiratory muscles but there is growing evidence of the involvement of smooth muscle cells in blood vessel walls, suggesting a multi-system disorder. Moreover, the failure of autophagy in Pompe disease could contribute to muscular atrophy and disease progression and is thought to compromise the efficacy of enzyme replacement therapy (ERT).
We investigated the light microscopical and ultrastructural pathology of the arrector pili muscle from punch skin biopsies from the calf of 6 adult Pompe disease patients and 6 age and gender matched healthy controls. Two patients had a follow-up biopsy after 19 and 20 month of ERT.
The electron microscopic investigation of patient biopsies revealed the widespread occurrence of glycogenosomes, membrane bound accumulations of granular glycogen, associated with autophagic vacuoles. In the controls we detected only muscle cells with non-membrane bound forms of glycogen. These morphological changes in smooth muscle cells are similar to those seen in skeletal muscle and smooth muscle cells of arterioles of Pompe patients. Furthermore, two patients with pre- and post-ERT skin biopsies showed a decrease in the number of cells with extensive autophagy after treatment.
Electron microscopic examination of the arrector pili muscles appears to be a surrogate marker for the involvement of smooth muscles reflecting disease severity. These findings suggest that the standardized and widely used skin biopsy could offer a minimally invasive way to screen for smooth muscle involvement and warrant further studies in larger cohorts of patients.
Skin biopsy; Pompe disease; Glycogenosis type II; Arrector pili muscle; Glycogenosome; Autophagy
The Editors of Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases would like to thank all our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in volume 8 (2013).
Behçet’s Disease (BD) is characterized by a relapsing-remitting course, with symptoms of varying severity across almost all organ systems. There is a diverse array of therapeutic options with no universally accepted treatment regime, and it is thus important that clinical practice is evidence-based. We reviewed all currently available literature describing management of BD, and investigated whether evidence-based practice is possible for all disease manifestations, and assessed the range of therapeutic options tested.
We conducted an internet search of all literature describing management of BD up to August 2013, including pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions. We recorded treatment options investigated and disease manifestations reported as primary and secondary study outcomes. Quality of data was assessed according to the Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network (SIGN) hierarchy of evidence.
Whilst there is much literature describing treatment of ocular and mucocutaneous disease, there is little to guide management of rheumatoid, cardiovascular and neurological disease. This broadly reflects the prevalence of disease manifestations of BD, but not the severity. Biologic therapies are the most commonly investigated intervention. The proportion of SIGN-1 graded studies is declining, and there are no SIGN-1 graded studies investigating neurological or gastrointestinal manifestations of BD.
This is the first study to investigate trends in published literature for management of BD over time. It identifies neurological, cardiovascular and gastro-intestinal disease as particular areas of unmet need and suggests that overall quality of evidence is declining. Future research should be designed to address these areas of insufficiency to facilitate evidence-based practice in BD.
Behçet’s disease; Evidence based medicine; Therapy; Systematic review
The use of biomarkers within the procedures of the Committee of Orphan Medicinal Products (COMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is discussed herein. The applications for Orphan Medicinal Product designation in the EU are evaluated at two stages. At the time of orphan designation application, the file undergoes an assessment to establish whether the proposed condition is a distinct and serious condition affecting not more than 5 in 10,000 people in the EU, and whether the product is plausible as a therapy for that condition. In cases where therapies already exist, the significant benefit of the candidate product over existing therapies is also evaluated. The orphan criteria are reassessed at the time of marketing authorisation, so that marketing exclusivity for the product in the orphan medical condition can be granted. Within this context, biomarkers have been used in submissions in order to define an orphan condition and to justify that the criteria for orphan designation are met. The current work discusses specific examples from the experience of the COMP, where biomarkers have played a decisive role. Importantly, it identifies the proposal of sub-sets of non-rare conditions based on biomarkers as a challenging issue in the evaluation of applications. In particular two specific requirements for the candidate orphan medicines in relation to the biomarker-based subsets are highlighted: the “plausible link to the condition” and the “exclusion of effects outside the subset”.
Orphan medicinal product designation; Distinct medical entity; Biomarker
WWOX, encoding WW domain-containing oxidoreductase, spans FRA16D, the second most common chromosomal fragile site frequently altered in cancers. It is therefore considered a tumor suppressor gene, but its direct implication in cancerogenesis remains controversial.
Methods and results
By whole-exome sequencing, we identified a homozygous WWOX nonsense mutation, p.Arg54*, in a girl from a consanguineous family with a severe syndrome of growth retardation, microcephaly, epileptic seizures, retinopathy and early death, a phenotype highly similar to the abormalities reported in lde/lde rats with a spontaneous functional null mutation of Wwox. As in rats, no tumors were observed in the patient or heterozygous mutation carriers.
Our finding, a homozygous loss-of-function germline mutation in WWOX in a patient with a lethal autosomal recessive syndrome, supports an alternative role of WWOX and indicates its importance for human viability.
WWOX; Tumor suppressor gene; Microcephaly; Epilepsy; Retinal degeneration; Nonsense mutation; Whole-exome sequencing
We conducted a monthly epidemiological survey to determine the birth prevalence of Robin sequence (RS) and the use of various therapeutic approaches for it.
Between August 2011 and July 2012, every pediatric department in Germany was asked to report new admissions of infants with RS to the Surveillance Unit for Rare Pediatric Diseases in Germany. RS was defined as retro- or micrognathia and at least one of the following: clinically evident upper airway obstruction including recessions, snoring or hypoxemia; glossoptosis; feeding difficulties; failure to thrive; cleft palate or RS-associated syndrome. Hospitals reporting a case were asked to return an anonymized questionnaire and discharge letter.
Of 96 cases reported, we received detailed information on 91. Of these, 82 were included; seven were duplicates and two erroneous reports. Given 662,712 live births in Germany in 2011, the birth prevalence was 12.4 per 100,000 live births. Therapeutic approaches applied included prone positioning in 50 infants, followed by functional therapy in 47. Conventional feeding plates were used in 34 infants and the preepiglottic baton plate (PEBP) in 19. Surgical therapy such as mandibular traction was applied in 2 infants, tracheotomy in 3.
Compared to other cohort studies on RS, surgical procedures were relatively rarely used as an initial therapy for RS in Germany. This may be due to differences in phenotype or an underrecognition of upper airway obstruction in these infants.
Obstructive sleep apnea; Upper airway obstruction; Retrognathia; Preepiglottic baton plate
Malignant hyperthermia (MH) is a rare pharmacogenetic disorder which is characterized by life-threatening metabolic crises during general anesthesia. Classical triggering substances are volatile anesthetics and succinylcholine (SCh). The molecular basis of MH is excessive release of Ca2+ in skeletal muscle principally by a mutated ryanodine receptor type 1 (RyR1). To identify factors explaining the variable phenotypic presentation and complex pathomechanism, we analyzed proven MH events in terms of clinical course, muscle contracture, genetic factors and pharmocological triggers.
In a multi-centre study including seven European MH units, patients with a history of a clinical MH episode confirmed by susceptible (MHS) or equivocal (MHE) in vitro contracture tests (IVCT) were investigated. A test result is considered to be MHE if the muscle specimens develop pathological contractures in response to only one of the two test substances, halothane or caffeine. Crises were evaluated using a clinical grading scale (CGS), results of IVCT and genetic screening. The effects of SCh and volatile anesthetics on Ca2+ release from sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) were studied in vitro.
A total of 200 patients met the inclusion criteria. Two MH crises (1%) were triggered by SCh (1 MHS, 1 MHE), 18% by volatile anesthetics and 81% by a combination of both. Patients were 70% male and 50% were younger than 12 years old. Overall, CGS was in accord with IVCT results. Crises triggered by enflurane had a significantly higher CGS compared to halothane, isoflurane and sevoflurane. Of the 200 patients, 103 carried RyR1 variants, of which 14 were novel. CGS varied depending on the location of the mutation within the RyR1 gene. In contrast to volatile anesthetics, SCh did not evoke Ca2+ release from isolated rat SR vesicles.
An MH event could depend on patient-related risk factors such as male gender, young age and causative RyR1 mutations as well as on the use of drugs lowering the threshold of myoplasmic Ca2+ release. SCh might act as an accelerant by promoting unspecific Ca2+ influx via the sarcolemma and indirect RyR1 activation. Most MH crises develop in response to the combined administration of SCh and volatile anesthetics.
Malignant hyperthermia; Succinylcholine; Suxamethonium; Volatile anesthetics; RyR1 mutations; In vitro contracture test
Aminoacidopathies are a group of rare and diverse disorders, caused by the deficiency of an enzyme or transporter involved in amino acid metabolism. For most aminoacidopathies, dietary management is the mainstay of treatment. Such treatment includes severe natural protein restriction, combined with protein substitution with all amino acids except the amino acids prior to the metabolic block and enriched with the amino acid that has become essential by the enzymatic defect. For some aminoacidopathies, supplementation of one or two amino acids, that have not become essential by the enzymatic defect, has been suggested. This so-called single amino acid supplementation can serve different treatment objectives, but evidence is limited. The aim of the present article is to provide a systematic review on the reasons for applications of single amino acid supplementation in aminoacidopathies treated with natural protein restriction and synthetic amino acid mixtures.
Aminoacidopathies; Inborn errors of metabolism; Single amino acid supplementation; Dietary management; Amino acid mixture; Organic acidurias
Neurologic impairments in female heterozygotes for X-linked Adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD) are poorly understood. Our aims were to describe the neurological and neurophysiological manifestations of a cohort of X-ALD heterozygotes, and to correlate them with age, disease duration, mutations, X-inactivation and serum concentrations of a marker of neuronal damage, neuron-specific enolase (NSE).
All 45 heterozygotes identified in our region, with previous VLCFA and molecular diagnosis, were invited to be evaluated through myelopathy scales JOA and SSPROM, nerve conduction studies and somatosensory evoked responses. X inactivation pattern was tested by HUMARA methylation assay. Serum NSE was measured by eletrochemiluminescense.
Thirty three heterozygote women were recruited: 29 (87%) were symptomatic. Symptomatic and asymptomatic women presented different m ± sd ages (43.9 ± 10.2 versus 24.3 ± 4.6), JOA (14.5 ± 1.7 versus 16.6 ± 0.2) and SSPROM (86.6 ± 7.9 versus 98.4 ± 1.1) scores (p < 0.05). Both JOA (r = −0.68) and SSPROM (r = −0.65) correlated with age, irrespectively of the disease status (p = 0.0001, Spearman). Delayed latencies in the central ascending conduction studies on the lower limbs were present in 72% of all heterozygotes, and correlated with SSPROM (r = −0.47, p = 0.018, Spearman). NSE values were higher in heterozygote than in control women (12.9 ± 7 and 7.2 ± 7 ng/ml, p = 0.012, Mann-Whitney U). Mutation severity and inactivation patterns were not associated with neurologic status.
Neurologic manifestations, clearly related to age, were quite common in the present cohort. JOA and SSPROM scales were able to discriminate the asymptomatic from the symptomatic heterozygotes. Both scales might be useful tools to follow disease progression, in future studies.
X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy; X-ALD heterozygote females; X-ALD carriers; JOA; SSPROM; Neuron-specific enolase; Evoked potentials; Nerve conduction; X inactivation; Spastic paraplegia
To demonstrate and clinically, genetically and demographically characterize familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) patients, maintaining remission despite colchicine abstinence.
FMF patients were screened for an endurance of prolonged remission (≥ 3 years), despite refraining from colchicine. Clinical, demographic and genetic parameters were collected. Data were compared with those of consecutive control FMF subjects, coming to the clinic for their periodic follow up examination.
Of 1000 patients screened over 5 years, 33 manifested colchicine-free remission. The mean duration of the remission period was 12.6 ± 8.1 years. Patients in the remission group had milder severity of FMF, compared to the control group (22 vs. 11 patients with mild disease, respectively, p = 0.003) and a longer diagnosis delay (21 ± 15.7 vs. 13.4 ± 13.5 years, respectively, p = 0.04). Patients experiencing remission suffered mostly of abdominal attacks, low rate of attacks in other sites and low rate of chronic and non-attack manifestations. When the disease resumed activity, it responded well to colchicine, despite using a lower dose, as compared to the control subjects (p < 0.001). None of the patients in this group was homozygous for the M694V mutation (p = 0.0008).
Prolonged colchicine-free remission defines a rare and milder form of FMF with unique clinical, demographic, and molecular characteristics.
Familial Mediterranean fever; Remission; Genetics; Demographics; Severity; Colchicine
Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is one of the most common inherited causes of infant death and is caused by the loss of functional survival motor neuron (SMN) protein due to mutations or deletion in the SMN1 gene. One of the treatment strategies for SMA is to induce the expression of the protein from the homologous SMN2 gene, a rescuing paralog for SMA.
Methods and results
Here we demonstrate the promise of pharmacological modulation of SMN2 gene by BAY 55-9837, an agonist of the vasoactive intestinal peptide receptor 2 (VPAC2), a member of G protein coupled receptor family. Treatment with BAY 55-9837 lead to induction of SMN protein levels via activation of MAPK14 or p38 pathway in vitro. Importantly, BAY 55-9837 also ameliorated disease phenotype in severe SMA mouse models.
Our findings suggest the VPAC2 pathway is a potential SMA therapeutic target.
p38 pathway; SMN; SMA; VPAC2 receptor agonist; Therapeutics
Ataxia Teleangiectasia [AT] is a rare neurodegenerative disease characterized by early onset ataxia, oculocutaneous teleangiectasias, immunodeficiency, recurrent infections, radiosensitivity and proneness to cancer. No therapies are available for this devastating disease. Recent observational studies in few patients showed beneficial effects of short term treatment with betamethasone. To avoid the characteristic side effects of long-term administration of steroids we developed a method for encapsulation of dexamethasone sodium phosphate (DSP) into autologous erythrocytes (EryDex) allowing slow release of dexamethasone for up to one month after dosing. Aims of the study were: the assessment of the effect of EryDex in improving neurological symptoms and adaptive behaviour of AT patients; the safety and tolerability of the therapy.
Twenty two patients (F:M = 1; mean age 11.2 ± 3.5) with a confirmed diagnosis of AT and a preserved or partially supported gait were enrolled for the study. The subjects underwent for six months a monthly infusion of EryDex. Ataxia was assessed by the International Cooperative Ataxia Rating Scale (ICARS) and the adaptive behavior by Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (VABS). Clinical evaluations were performed at baseline and 1, 3, and 6 months.
An improvement in ICARS (reduction of the score) was detected in the intention-to-treat (ITT) population (n = 22; p = 0.02) as well as in patients completing the study (per protocol PP) (n = 18; p = 0.01), with a mean reduction of 4 points (ITT) or 5.2 points (PP). When compared to baseline, a significant improvement were also found in VABS (increase of the score) (p < 0.0001, ITT, RMANOVA), with statistically significant increases at 3 and 6 months (p < 0.0001). A large inter-patient variability in the incorporation of DSP into erythrocytes was observed, with an evident positive effect of higher infusion dose on ICARS score decline. Moreover a more marked improvement was found in less neurologically impaired patients. Finally, a 19 month-extension study involving a subgroup of patients suggested that Erydex treatment can possibly delay the natural progression of the disease.
EryDex was well tolerated; the most frequent side effects were common AT pathologies.
EryDex treatment led to a significant improvement in neurological symptoms, without association with the typical steroid side effects.
Current Controlled Trial
Dexamethasone; Intra-Erythrocyte Dexamethasone; Ataxia Teleangiectasia; Ataxia Teleangiectasia Ataxia Treatment; Cerebellar Ataxia; ICARS; VABS
Primary asplenia is a rare condition with poorly known etiology. Mowat-Wilson syndrome (MWS) is characterized by typical facial dysmorphisms, intellectual disability, microcephaly, epilepsy and the possible presence of internal organ malformations. It is caused by heterozygous mutations or deletions in the ZEB2 gene. Nearly 180 patients have been reported to date, but only one with asplenia. We report here spleen hypo/aplasia in 4 out of 6 MWS patients, with severe infectious complications for 3 of them. Our report shows that spleen hypo/aplasia is part of the MWS phenotype and makes ZEB2 a possible candidate gene for primary asplenia.
Mowat-Wilson syndrome; ZEB2; Asplenia
Inherited ichthyoses represent a group of rare skin disorders characterized by scaling, hyperkeratosis and inconstant erythema, involving most of the tegument. Epidemiology remains poorly described. This study aims to evaluate the prevalence of inherited ichthyosis (excluding very mild forms) and its different clinical forms in France.
Capture – recapture method was used for this study. According to statistical requirements, 3 different lists (reference/competence centres, French association of patients with ichthyosis and internet network) were used to record such patients. The study was conducted in 5 areas during a closed period.
The prevalence was estimated at 13.3 per million people (/M) (CI95%, [10.9 – 17.6]). With regard to autosomal recessive congenital ichthyosis, the prevalence was estimated at 7/M (CI 95% [5.7 – 9.2]), with a prevalence of lamellar ichthyosis and congenital ichthyosiform erythroderma of 4.5/M (CI 95% [3.7 – 5.9]) and 1.9/M (CI 95% [1.6 – 2.6]), respectively. Prevalence of keratinopathic forms was estimated at 1.1/M (CI 95% [0.9 – 1.5]). Prevalence of syndromic forms (all clinical forms together) was estimated at 1.9/M (CI 95% [1.6 – 2.6]).
Our results constitute a crucial basis to properly size the necessary health measures that are required to improve patient care and design further clinical studies.
Inherited ichthyosis; Epidemiology; Prevalence; Capture-recapture method; Genodermatosis
Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are a type of high-flow vascular malformations that most commonly occurs in the head and neck. They are present at birth but are usually clinically asymptomatic until later in life. The pathogenesis of AVMs remains unclear and therapeutic approaches to AVMs are unsatisfied. In order to provide a tool for studying the pathogenesis and therapies of this disease, we established and studied a xenograft animal model of human AVMs.
Fresh human AVMs specimens harvested from 4 patients were sectioned (5x5x5 mm) and xenografted subcutaneously in 5 immunologically naïve nude mice (Athymic Nude-Foxn1nu). Each mouse had four pieces specimens in four quadrants along the back. The grafts were observed weekly for volume, color and texture. The grafts were harvested at every 30 days intervals for histologic examination. All grafts (n = 20) were sectioned and stained for hematoxylin and eosin (H&E). Comparative pathologic evaluation of the grafts and native AVMs were performed by two blinded pathologists. Immunohistochemical examination of human-specific nuclear antigen, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) and Ki-67 was performed.
Clinical characteristics and pathologic diagnosis of native human derived AVMs were confirmed. 85% (n = 17) of AVM xenografts survived although the sizes decreased after implantation. Histological examination demonstrated numerous small and medium-size vessels and revealed structural characteristics matching the native AVMs tissue.76.5% (n = 13) of the surviving xenografts were positive for Ki-67 and human-specific nuclear antigen suggesting survival of the human derived tissue, 52.9% (n = 9) were positive for VEGFR-2.
This preliminary xenograft animal model suggests that AVMs can survive in the nude mouse. The presence of human-specific nuclear antigen, VEGFR-2, and Ki-67 demonstrates the stability of native tissue qualities within the xenografts.
Arteriovenous malformations; Animal model; Nude mouse; In vivo
National payers across Europe have been increasingly looking into innovative reimbursement approaches – called managed entry agreements (MEAs) – to balance the need to provide rapid access to potentially beneficial orphan medicinal products (OMPs) with the requirements to circumscribe uncertainty, obtain best value for money or to ensure affordability. This study aimed to identify, describe and classify MEAs applied to OMPs by national payers and to analyse their practice in Europe.
To identify and describe MEAs, national health technology assessments and reimbursement decisions on OMPs across seven European countries were reviewed and their main characteristics extracted. To fill data gaps and validate the accuracy of the extraction, collaboration was sought from national payers. To classify MEAs, a bespoke taxonomy was implemented. Identified MEAs were analysed and compared by focusing on five key themes, namely by describing the MEAs in relation to: drug targets and therapeutic classes, geographical spread, type of MEA applied, declared rationale for setting-up of MEAs, and evolution over time.
42 MEAs for 26 OMPs, implemented between 2006 and 2012 and representing a variety of MEA designs, were identified. Italy was the country with the highest number of schemes (n=15), followed by the Netherlands (n=10), England and Wales (n=8), Sweden (n=5) and Belgium (n=4). No MEA was identified for France and Germany due to data unavailability. Antineoplastic agents were the primary targets of MEAs. 55% of the identified MEAs were performance-based risk-sharing arrangements; the other 45% were financial-based. Nine of these 26 OMPs were subject to MEAs in two or three different countries, resulting in 24 MEAs. 60% of identified MEAs focused on conditions whose prevalence is less than 1 per 10,000.
This study confirmed that a variety of MEAs were increasingly used by European payers to manage aspects of uncertainty associated with the introduction of OMPs in the healthcare system, and which may be of a clinical, utilisation, or budgetary nature. It remains unclear whether differences in the use of MEAs reflect differences in how ‘uncertainty’ and ‘value’ are perceived across healthcare systems.
Managed entry agreements; Orphan drugs; Orphan medicinal products; Access; Reimbursement; Risk sharing; Uncertainty; Health technology assessment; Payers; Pricing; Performance
Triglyceride deposit cardiomyovasculopathy (TGCV) is a rare disease, characterized by the massive accumulation of triglyceride (TG) in multiple tissues, especially skeletal muscle, heart muscle and the coronary artery. TGCV is caused by mutation of adipose triglyceride lipase, which is an essential molecule for the hydrolysis of TG. TGCV is at high risk for skeletal myopathy and heart dysfunction, and therefore premature death. Development of therapeutic methods for TGCV is highly desirable. This study aims to discover specific molecules responsible for TGCV pathogenesis.
To identify differentially expressed proteins in TGCV patient cells, the stable isotope labeling with amino acids in cell culture (SILAC) method coupled with LC-MS/MS was performed using skin fibroblast cells derived from two TGCV patients and three healthy volunteers. Altered protein expression in TGCV cells was confirmed using the selected reaction monitoring (SRM) method. Microarray-based transcriptome analysis was simultaneously performed to identify changes in gene expression in TGCV cells.
Using SILAC proteomics, 4033 proteins were quantified, 53 of which showed significantly altered expression in both TGCV patient cells. Twenty altered proteins were chosen and confirmed using SRM. SRM analysis successfully quantified 14 proteins, 13 of which showed the same trend as SILAC proteomics. The altered protein expression data set was used in Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA), and significant networks were identified. Several of these proteins have been previously implicated in lipid metabolism, while others represent new therapeutic targets or markers for TGCV. Microarray analysis quantified 20743 transcripts, and 252 genes showed significantly altered expression in both TGCV patient cells. Ten altered genes were chosen, 9 of which were successfully confirmed using quantitative RT-PCR. Biological networks of altered genes were analyzed using an IPA search.
We performed the SILAC- and SRM-based identification-through-confirmation study using skin fibroblast cells derived from TGCV patients, and first identified altered proteins specific for TGCV. Microarray analysis also identified changes in gene expression. The functional networks of the altered proteins and genes are discussed. Our findings will be exploited to elucidate the pathogenesis of TGCV and discover clinically relevant molecules for TGCV in the near future.
Proteome; Triglyceride deposit cardiomyovasculopathy; SILAC; SRM/MRM; ATGL; Rare disease
Mevalonate kinase deficiency (MKD) is caused by mutations in the MVK gene, encoding the second enzyme of mevalonate pathway, which results in subsequent shortage of downstream compounds, and starts in childhood with febrile attacks, skin, joint, and gastrointestinal symptoms, sometimes induced by vaccinations.
For a history of early-onset corticosteroid-induced reduction of bone mineral density in a 14-year-old boy with MKD, who also had presented three bone fractures, we administered weekly oral alendronate, a drug widely used in the management of osteoporosis and other high bone turnover diseases, which blocks mevalonate and halts the prenylation process.
All of the patient’s MKD clinical and laboratory abnormalities were resolved after starting alendronate treatment.
This observation appears enigmatic, since alendronate should reinforce the metabolic block characterizing MKD, but is crucial because of the ultimate improvement shown by this patient. The anti-inflammatory properties of bisphosphonates are a new question for debate among physicians across various specialties, and requires further biochemical and clinical investigation.
Mevalonate kinase deficiency; Autoinflammatory disorder; Alendronate