One Time Injection With Spark’s Gene Therapy LUXTURNA Demonstrated Lasting Visual Improvement

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Stephen R. Russell, MD Dina J Schrage Professor of Macular Degeneration Research Service Director, Vitreoretinal Diseases and Surgery Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences The University of Iowa

Dr. Russell

Stephen R. Russell, MD
Dina J Schrage Professor of Macular Degeneration Research
Service Director, Vitreoretinal Diseases and Surgery
Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
The University of Iowa

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This study examines the efficacy (and safety) of treating children and adults with a form of retinitis pigmentosa known as RPE65-associated Lebers congenital amaurosis, with an adeno-associated viral vector(AAV) delivered RPE65 construct.  Building on successful phase 1/2b trials from multiple centers, the AAV-hRPE65v2 agent now designated as voretigene neparvovec, contains a highly optimized enhancing sequence and promoter.

The main findings were an improvement on a multiple light level mobility test (MLMT) and multiple additional supportive secondary endpoints which included improvements in full-field light sensitivity, Goldmann visual field, and others.

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Potential Blood Biomarker Predicts Course of Huntington’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Edward Wild PhD MRC Clinician Scientist Huntington's Disease Centre UCL Institute of Neurology Honorary Consultant Neurologist National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery, London UK

Dr. Wild

Dr Edward Wild PhD
MRC Clinician Scientist
Huntington’s Disease Centre
UCL Institute of Neurology
Honorary Consultant Neurologist
National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery,
London UK

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Having a readily accessible and sensitive biomarker, that is representative of ongoing neuropathology, could facilitate therapeutic development for Huntington’s disease. Neurofilament light (NfL) protein is one of the component that makes up the cytoskeleton of neurons. It is released when neuronal damage or death occurs and can be quantified in blood.

MedicalResearch.com: WWhat are the main findings?

Response: We carried out a retrospective cohort analysis of samples from the TRACK-HD study – a multisite longitudinal observational study of HD patients. NfL was quantified in plasma from 298 participants at baseline and follow-up. NfL was significantly higher in HD compared to healthy controls and increased with disease stage. Baseline levels of plasma NfL predicted clinical progression, including cognitive and functional decline, and the rate of global and regional brain atrophy. Premanifest individuals who converted to manifest  Huntington’s disease in the three years of the study had significantly higher levels of plasma NfL at baseline. These associations remained significant after adjustment for the combined interaction of age and CAG, currently the best predictor of age of onset of Huntington’s disease. In a separate cohort, levels of NfL in plasma and CSF were highly correlated.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Despite decades of research, no substance in blood has shown any power to predict disease progression of Huntington’s disease. In addition, no substance has been shown to be increased as in premanifest subjects over 10 years from their predicted onset suggesting it may have potential for detecting the earliest signs of HD before overt symptoms manifest.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: We hope that quantifying NfL will be incorporated into all future observational studies of  Huntington’s disease and potentially retrospectively where blood or CSF samples have been banked. We feel it should also be used in current and future clinical trials as an efficacy marker to assess whether a drug is slowing neuronal damage, at the very least as an exploratory end point. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: At the moment we do not have enough information for this blood test to be of clinical relevance and prognosis of a patient. A lot more research needs to be done before it could be use on an individual basis in the clinic.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation: Lauren M Byrne, Filipe B Rodrigues, Kaj Blennow, Alexandra Durr, Blair R Leavitt, Raymund A C Roos, Rachael I Scahill, Sarah J Tabrizi, Henrik Zetterberg, Douglas Langbehn, Edward J Wild. Neurofilament light protein in blood as a potential biomarker of neurodegeneration in Huntington’s disease: a retrospective cohort analysisThe Lancet Neurology, 2017; DOI: 10.1016/S1474-4422(17)30124-2

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laneur/article/PIIS1474-4422(17)30124-2/fulltext

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

 

 

 

Could Vaccine Against Meningococcus Help Protect Against Gonorrhea?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Helen Petousis-Harris. BSc, PhD

Senior Lecturer, Dept General Practice and Primary Health Care
Academic Head, Immunisation Research and Vaccinology
Immunisation Advisory Centre
School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences
University of Auckland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Early thinking came from two quarters. One, the observation that the NZ OMV vaccine appeared broadly protective – beyond the clone it was based on and two, the observation of graphs depicting annual number of cases from both Cuba and NZ. There is nothing to suggest other types of meningococcal vaccine have had any effect on gonorrhoea so we are interested in the OMV vaccines. This led to the hypothesis that as these two Neisseria species are related the meningococcal OMV in the form of a vaccine may offer some kind of cross protection.

To explore this possibility we conducted a case-control study that compared the vaccination status of cases (gonorrhoea) and controls (Clamydia). We found that the cases with gonorrhoea were less likely to be vaccinated than the controls and after we controlled for confounders – ethnicity, SE deprivation, age we found a vaccine effectiveness of 31%.

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Dissolvable Microneedle Patches Can Be Vaccination Game Changer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Nadine G Rouphael MD
Associate Professor of Medicine, Emory University
Director of the VTEU and HIPC networks at the
Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center
Decatur GA 30030, USA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this new technology and study? What are the main findings?

Response: Different groups including a group of researchers at Georgia Tech have been working on the microneedle technology for more than 20 years. The dissolvable microneedle patches are already used in several cosmetic products and drugs. However, vaccination with microneedle patches has been studied mostly in animals.

Our phase 1 trial published this week in The Lancet showed that vaccination with the microneedle patches was safe, with no related serious adverse events reported. Local skin reactions to the patches were mostly mild itching and faint redness that lasted two to three days. No new chronic medical illnesses or influenza-like illnesses were reported with either the patch or the injection groups. Antibody responses generated by the vaccine, as measured through analysis of blood samples, were similar in the groups vaccinated using patches and those receiving intramuscular injection, and these immune responses were still present after six months. When asked after immunization, more than 70 percent of patch recipients reported they would prefer patch vaccination over injection or intranasal vaccination for future vaccinations.

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Oral Treatment Option for RA Includes Tofacitinib (XELJANZ®) Plus Methotrexate

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Roy Fleischmann, MD MACR Medical Director Metroplex Clinical Research Center Clinical Professor of Medicine University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, TX 75231

Dr. Fleischmann

Roy Fleischmann, MD MACR
Medical Director
Metroplex Clinical Research Center
Clinical Professor of Medicine
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Dallas, TX 75231

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In the phase 3 studies of tofacitinib, it was noted that the clinical responses to tofacitinib monotherapy were higher than the responses to tofaciotinib plus MTX and that tofacitinib plus methotrexate had numerically higher clinical responses compared to adalimumab plus methotrexate. This study was a non-inferiority design which compared tofacitinib monotherapy to tofacitinib + MTX and to adalimumab +MTX and tofacitinib monotherapy to tofacitinib +MTX in MTX incomplete responders. It was found that tofacitinib + MTX is non-inferior to adalimumab + MTX (and vice versa) and neither was superior to the other. The results of tofacitinib to either combination was non-conclusive showing neither non-inferiority or inferiority, but suggesting that either combination will be effective in more patients in a group of patients.

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High Hepatitis C Cure Rate Using Elbasvir plus Grazoprevir In Chronic Kidney Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Annette Bruchfeld MD, PhD Senior Consultant Associate Professor Karolinska Institute Dept of Renal Medicine, M99 Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge Stockholm, Sweden

Dr. Bruchfeld

Annette Bruchfeld MD, PhD Senior Consultant
Associate Professor
Karolinska Institute
Dept of Renal Medicine, M99
Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge
Stockholm, Sweden

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In patients with stage 4–5 chronic kidney disease(CKD), hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection can accelerate the decline in kidney function, impair health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and decrease survival chances of both patients and grafts in transplantation recipients.

In this study additional data from patients with stage 4–5 chronic kidney disease undergoing treatment for HCV infection in the C-SURFER study, including HRQOL and resistance analyses was presented not previously reported for this patient population with gwnotype 1 infection.

The final virological analysis of this study indicated a high cure rate with sustained virological response at 12 weeks after the end of treatment (SVR12) in more than 98% of all treated patients. Even in patients with resistance-associated substitutions (RASs) the SVR was high in 11 (84·6%) of 13 patients genotype 1a infection.

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Adolescents Admitted For Self Harm At Risk For Further Self Harming Behavior

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Annie Herbert, PhD Department of Behavioural Science and Health, Institute of Epidemiology and Healthcare University College London London  UK

Dr. Herbert

Dr Annie Herbert, PhD
Department of Behavioural Science and Health, Institute of Epidemiology and Healthcare
University College London
London  UK 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: 1 in 25 adolescents (i.e. one in every classroom) will be admitted to hospital as an emergency with injuries related self-harm, drug or alcohol misuse, or violence. Currently, the guidelines for how these adolescents are managed differ greatly depending on the type of injury they come in with (whether through self-harm, drug or alcohol misuse, or violence).

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: In our study, we found that adolescents admitted with any of these injuries were at an increased risk of suicide and of drug or alcohol related death in the ten years after leaving hospital, compared to other admitted adolescents.While the overall risk is relatively low—for example, 2–3 girls out of 1000 and 7 boys out of 1000 who are admitted as an emergency to hospital with drug or alcohol related injuries die from suicide within 10 years—the rates are 5–6 times higher than among adolescents admitted to hospital following an accident.

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Phase I Study Shows IV Gene Therapy May Improve Macular Degeneration

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof Peter A Campochiaro MD Director, Retinal Cell and Molecular Laboratory Professor of Ophthalmology Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, MD

Dr. Campochiaro

Prof Peter A Campochiaro MD
Director, Retinal Cell and Molecular Laboratory
Professor of Ophthalmology
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) have increased levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in their eyes resulting in growth of abnormal blood vessels that leak fluid into the retina and reduce vision. The current treatment is to inject proteins that block VEGF which initially provides a very good effect, but repeated injections are needed.

Patients sometimes are unable to keep up the frequency of visits and injections needed to keep the disease quiet and over time there is often gradual loss of vision. The aim of this study was to test a new approach through which a viral vector is injected into the eye resulting in production of a protein that block VEGF in the eye reducing the need for repeated injections.

These are the major findings:

1) Intravitreous injection of an AAV2 vector expressing a protein that blocks vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was safe and well-tolerated.

(2) 5 of 10 patients injected with the highest dose (2 × 10¹⁰ vector genomes) had measurable levels of the therapeutic protein in samples removed from the front of the eye- all of these patients had no or very low levels of anti-AAV2 serum antibodies and 4 of the 5 patients who did not show expression had high anti-AAV2 serum antibodies

(3) Eleven patients had fluid in or under the retina before vector injection and 6 of them showed substantial reduction of the fluid which is the desired outcome.

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First Report Of A Therapeutic Vaccine For Gluten Sensitive Celiac Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Leslie Williams, BS, RN, MBA</strong> Director, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer <strong>Dr Robert P Anderson MBChB BMedSc PhD FRACP</strong> Chief Scientific Officer ImmusanT Cambridge, MALeslie Williams, BS, RN, MBA

Director, Founder, President and
Chief Executive Officer and

Dr Robert P Anderson MBChB BMedSc PhD FRACP
Chief Scientific Officer
ImmusanT, Cambridge, MA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The 2 Phase 1 trials were randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center studies evaluating the safety, tolerability, and relevant bioactivity of Nexvax2 in HLA-DQ2.5+ patients with celiac disease. In one study, patients received three fixed doses of Nexvax2 or placebo once per week over a three-week period. In the other study, patients received 16 fixed doses of Nexvax2 or placebo twice per week over an eight-week period. Both studies evaluated a range of fixed, intradermal dose administrations in a series of ascending dose cohorts, which included a crossover, double-blind, placebo-controlled oral gluten challenge in the screening and post-treatment periods. The primary outcome measures were the number and percentage of adverse events in the treatment period.

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Xpert HCV Viral Load Test Can Detect Active Hepatitis C Infection From Fingerstick

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jason Grebely PhD Associate Professor Senior Research Fellow (UNSW) Viral Hepatitis Clinical Research Program

Dr. Grebely

Jason Grebely PhD
Associate Professor
Senior Research Fellow (UNSW)
Viral Hepatitis Clinical Research Program

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Globally, testing and diagnosis of hepatitis C virus infection remain low. Although point of care tests for HCV infection exist, but many of these tests only measure HCV antibodies (previous exposure), not HCV RNA (active infection). Given that 25% of individuals spontaneously clear HCV infection, efforts to enhance diagnosis of chronic HCV infection and improve the HCV care cascade requires enhanced uptake of HCV RNA testing.

We conducted the first evaluation of the Xpert HCV Viral Load test (manufactured by Cepheid) – a point-of-care hepatitis C virus test that can detect active infection – from a finger-stick sample of blood. We established that there is good sensitivity and specificity of the Xpert HCV Viral Load point-of-care test using blood samples collected by finger-stick in participants attending drug health and homelessness services in Australia.

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