Potential Myotonic Dystrophy Drug Fails! – Ionis Myotonic Dystrophy Drug fails to reach minimal therapeutic value

In a instant news email the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation (MDF) released information that the Ionis Pharmaceutical Drug DMPK-2.5Rx research project has been canceled. The drug DMPK-2.5Rx did not work, and did not get the correct amount of therapeutic drugs into the cells of the patients with myotonic dystrophy. The company may still continue research on a more potent combination but the current trial is halted.

This is hard to hear news for the myotonic community. This is the second drug in development to fail. This new drug is part of a number of new generation of interest drugs  in trying to find a drug to treat the disease. There are still a number of drugs in development but the Ionis one was the most advanced. Perhaps the information in this trial will be of help to the other drugs in development.  For those in the late stages of the disease the length of time to find a treatment that is FDA approved in unlikely now.

There continues to be some “off label” treatments including erythromycin and some NSAIDS as well as Actinomycin-D but none have had any proven human effect.

More information below.

Ionis Pharmaceuticals Reports on
DMPKRx Phase 1/2 Clinical Trial

Ionis Pharmaceuticals recently concluded a Phase 1/2 clinical trial to evaluate IONIS-DMPK-2.5Rx in myotonic dystrophy patients. IONIS-DMPK-2.5Rx was designed to target the toxic DMPK RNA in muscle that is responsible for myotonia or muscle dysfunction in DM1 patients. The clinical trial used dose escalation to assess safety and explore biomarkers for target engagement in muscle biopsies.

Ionis reports that small but encouraging trends in biomarker and splicing changes were observed during the trial, and that this study provided a much better understanding of how future clinical trials and improved clinical endpoints may be used. However, drug levels measured in biopsy tissue from trial participants indicated that the amount of target engagement would not achieve the desired therapeutic benefit to treat this disease.

Without the desired drug levels in muscle, Ionis has decided not to advance IONIS-DMPK-2.5Rx. It will instead pursue the discovery of a more potent drug to target DMPK using new muscle-targeting LICA chemistry made at Ionis.

The company sincerely thanks everyone in the DM community that participated in the study - patients, caregivers and physicians, noting, “we are committed to the DM patient community and we hope to advance a new, more potent drug into development that will benefit people living with DM1.”

Ionis invites DM community members to submit questions regarding the above announcement via this email address. MDF will collect questions through January 12th and then work with Ionis to get answers out to the community as soon as possible.

Study of Childhood and Congenital Myotonic Dystrophy

Here is a recent study of issues with congenital and childhood myotonic dystrophy. It seems pretty comprehensive and has a lot of good information. The summary is below followed by the link to the full study. The study does not also provide information on the link to autism or autism spectrum disorders that many of the children have. The study does not go into depth on the adult form of the disease that follows as the children age and go through puberty. But a good basic review.

“In neonates and children, DM1 predominantly affects muscle strength, cognition, respiratory, central nervous and gastrointestinal systems. Sleep disorders are often under recognized yet a significant morbidity. No effective disease modifying treatment is currently available and neonates and children with DM1 may experience severe physical and intellectual disability, which may be life limiting in the most severe forms. Management is currently supportive, incorporating regular surveillance and treatment of manifestations. Novel therapies, which target the gene and the pathogenic mechanism of abnormal splicing are emerging. Genetic counseling is critical in this autosomal dominant genetic disease with variable penetrance and potential maternal anticipation,as is assisting with family planning and undertakingcascade testing to instigate health surveillance in affected family members.”

BELOW click on hyperlink for full study in PDF form.

Childhood Myotonic dystrophy 2015

Smell Function (Odor recognition) may be affected by Myotonic Dystrophy

Impaired smell found

A new study that looked at MRI images showed that there were some affects to smell that could be seen on patients MRI. It is very possible that some people affected with DM may have reduced or impaired Smell (odor responses). The study is in Japanese so this is all the information that we can report here.

[Impairment of Odor Recognition in Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1].

[Article in Japanese]

Abstract

There is evidence that impaired human cognitive abilities are reflected in loss of olfactory abilities. Declining olfactory perception may be a biomarker for impairment of cognitive function and of impending illnesses in neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Previously, we reported that patients with myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM 1) had lower sensitivity to emotional facial expressions as well as abnormal olfactory threshold or recognition level. In DM 1, pathological studies have reported neurofibrillary tangles in several temporal areas including the entorhinal cortex (ENT), hippocampus (HI), and the amygdala. We observed that patients with DM 1 showed signal abnormalities in the olfactory limbic areas on magnetic resonance imaging. Our findings underscore the need to pay careful attention to significant decreases in odor identification abilities caused by diverse forms of abnormal brain function, especially in the AMG, ENT and HI.

What is the cost of Congenital Myotonic Dystrophy tops $10 Billion Dollars in USA?

Medical Cost

When my son was born I had no idea that he would be an Over 5 Million Dollar Man.But he was born as a premmie and our medical bills started even before Day 1. The major cost of the disease concentrations on respiratory symptoms. For young people with this disease a strong effort is made to stabilize and improve respiratory function. The recovery period for individuals with this disease is very lengthy.

Moms confinement before delivery                              $200,000
85 day NICU stay                                                       $1,400,000
Ear Tube Placements (8)                                                 40,000
Special Education  Grade 0-6                                         200,000
Heel Cord Surgery                                                            25,000
Special Education grade 7-14                                        210,000
Caregivers state of Ca 2012-2016                                 450,000
Hospitalization 2010 (80 days)                                       875,000
Hospitalization 2015 (79 Days)                                      850,000
Hospitalization 2016 (89 days)                                       950,000
Cardiac Monitoring                                                            40,000

Currently we are at US$5.2 Million in Hospital and Medical Care for him. The insurance has picked up all the costs incurred, but still its a high price.

In the USA the incident of congenital myotonic dystrophy is 1/100,000. That computes to about 3,500 individuals with the disease. At a five million dollar overall cost the math computes to an overall projected cost could top 18.2 billion.

If the 5 million is a outlier the cost would still be in the neighborhood of $10 billion overall cost. That’s a very high cost to society.

FDA approved Chemotherapy Drug Might Treat Myotonic Dystrophy

In a stunning development The Berglund lab in Gainsville, FL has identified a potential treatment of myotonic dystrophy of a Chemotherapy drug Actinomycin D. In Both Cells and mice that were created to have myotonic dystrophy the drug used at or below levels that are used in human chemotherapy pushed back the Foci that are associated with the disease.

In theory this might be a treatment for myotonic dystrophy. This has not been tried in humans and would be highly risky but for people near end of life this may be a vector for them and their doctors to consider.

Researchers have previously identified what they think is the cause of the disease.In Myotonic Dystrophy the repeat expansion mutation is made into RNA but it does not get out into the cytoplasm. It remains trapped in the nucleus where it sticks to various proteins and appears as spots or foci that can be observed down the microscope. Because these proteins are stuck to the repeat RNA they cannot perform their normal functions correctly within the cell.

Researchers have found that to make progress with this disease, they need to “unstick” the proteins. This drug appears to do this in mice and cells.

Previously to the publication of this article there was no even theoretical treatment available. There are several drugs in development but this takes years of development. For those near end of life with this disease there is now a potential treatment. A copy of the article is here. This is something you may want to discuss with your medical team. Its untried and potentially risky with side effects. More information will be available shortly.

Myotonic Dystrophy Treatment

Please note the study is very technical. We are not recommending this to anyone but bringing all the current information to your attention