Center for Gene Therapy

How Have Respiratory Outcomes Changed With New Spinal Muscular Atrophy Treatments?
How Have Respiratory Outcomes Changed With New Spinal Muscular Atrophy Treatments? 1024 575 Mary Bates, PhD
Illustration of lungs on blue silhouette of upper chest on black background

Three new therapies are changing the prognosis for spinal muscular atrophy, but long-term monitoring of respiratory outcomes is still necessary.

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Cardiomyopathy in Mothers of Boys With Muscular Dystrophy
Cardiomyopathy in Mothers of Boys With Muscular Dystrophy 1024 670 Mary Bates, PhD

Female carriers of the genetic defect that causes muscular dystrophy in boys show evidence of cardiac fibrosis. An interdisciplinary team from Nationwide Children’s Hospital reports about half of women who carry the genetic defect responsible for muscular dystrophy show evidence of cardiac fibrosis. The study, published in the International Journal of Cardiology, suggests that cardiac muscle,…

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Krabbe Disease Successfully Treated With Gene Therapy in Preclinical Animal Model
Krabbe Disease Successfully Treated With Gene Therapy in Preclinical Animal Model 1024 575 Lauren Dembeck

Gene therapy shows promise for clinical benefit in demyelinating, neurodegenerative disease. Krabbe disease is an aggressive, incurable pediatric neurodegenerative disease caused by mutations in the galactosylceramidase (GALC) gene. Deficiency of the GALC protein activity leads to cytotoxic accumulation of a cellular metabolite called psychosine, which compromises normal turnover of myelin in the central and peripheral…

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New Newborn Screening Approach Allows for Earlier Detection of Menkes Disease
New Newborn Screening Approach Allows for Earlier Detection of Menkes Disease 1024 575 Natalie Wilson

Targeted next generation DNA sequencing can enable improved clinical outcomes for any genetic disorder not detectable through other biochemical newborn screening methods. Menkes disease is a rare, X-linked recessive pediatric disease caused by gene mutations of the copper transporter gene, ATP7A, leading to low levels of copper in infants’ blood and brain, as well as abnormal…

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An Expanded, Multicenter Look at Gene Therapy for Spinal Muscular Atrophy
An Expanded, Multicenter Look at Gene Therapy for Spinal Muscular Atrophy 1024 575 Mary Bates, PhD
Colorful illustration of gene therapy in action

New study confirms safety and efficacy in children under two years old. In May 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a gene replacement therapy for the inherited, progressive neuromuscular disease 5q-linked spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Approval included all children with SMA under the age of two years; however, the gene therapy had only been…

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Encouraging First Report of Systemic Delivery of Micro-dystrophin Gene Therapy in Children With Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
Encouraging First Report of Systemic Delivery of Micro-dystrophin Gene Therapy in Children With Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy 150 150 Abbie Roth

One-year data from the first four patients to receive a single dose of the rAAVrh74.MHCK7.micro-dystrophin gene therapy is published in JAMA Neurology. Researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital have published in JAMA Neurology results from the first four patients treated in the first clinical trial of systemic delivery of micro-dystrophin gene therapy in children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy…

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A Natural History of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in Boys 3 to 6 Years Old
A Natural History of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in Boys 3 to 6 Years Old 1024 575 Abbie Roth
boy with muscular dystrophy completing walk test

A prospective, multicenter study following 153 boys younger than 6 years old documents disease progression of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most common inherited neuromuscular disorder that affects all races and ethnicities. It affects males, occurring in 1/3,600 live-born infant boys. While some affected newborns may have mild hypotonia, other symptoms are rarely…

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How Does a Children’s Hospital Excel in the Discovery and Development of New Therapies?
How Does a Children’s Hospital Excel in the Discovery and Development of New Therapies? 1024 575 Abbie Roth
conceptual art of DNA

A conversation with Dennis Durbin, MD, MSCE chief scientific officer, Abigail Wexner Research Institute, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Nationwide Children’s has become an epicenter for gene therapy discovery and development. The discovery in 2009 that adeno-associated virus (AAV) could cross the blood-brain barrier was a milestone in the development of dozens of gene therapy products for neuromuscular…

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Unique Course Trains Young Physicians and Researchers in Muscle Disorders and Therapies
Unique Course Trains Young Physicians and Researchers in Muscle Disorders and Therapies 150 150 Kevin Mayhood

The annual myology course is designed to train the next generation of clinicians and lab scientists in the basics and the latest. Every year, more than 60 young trainees come to Nationwide Children’s Hospital for the annual Myology Course, an intensive, week-long introduction to muscle biology, disease and therapeutics. Hosted by Nationwide Children’s and The…

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Preventing the Development of Muscular Dystrophy Through Surrogate Gene Therapy
Preventing the Development of Muscular Dystrophy Through Surrogate Gene Therapy 1024 683 Lauren Dembeck

Researchers identify a key regulatory protein implicated in Galgt2 overexpression and begin to elucidate its protective mechanism against muscular dystrophy. Researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital have identified a small, soluble protein that can activate a human gene known to inhibit the development of muscular dystrophy when overexpressed in muscle. That is, when there is a…

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Long-Term Follow Up of Patients Receiving Novel Gene Therapy for SMA Type I
Long-Term Follow Up of Patients Receiving Novel Gene Therapy for SMA Type I 150 150 Abbie Roth

Spinal muscular atrophy type 1 (SMA1) is a rare neuromuscular disease in which 75 percent of affected children die or require permanent ventilation by 13.6 months. Researchers recently published the long-term outcomes of patients who received the investigational drug AVXS-101 – an adeno-associated virus serotype 9 mediated gene replacement therapy. Twelve children aged 1 to…

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Collaboration Key in Recent Advances for Batten Disease
Collaboration Key in Recent Advances for Batten Disease 1024 683 Abbie Roth

Batten disease (neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis) is a collection of lysosomal storage disorders caused by a variety of genetic mutations. These disorders cause an accumulation of cellular “trash” to build up, ultimately causing the neurons to die. So far, scientists have identified 13 different versions of Batten disease, each with its own associated genetic mutation. Each version…

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DNA Variations Associated With Prolonged Walking in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
DNA Variations Associated With Prolonged Walking in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy 1024 575 Kevin Mayhood
boy with muscular dystrophy completing walk test

Genome-wide association study identifies two variants that may yield therapies for children with DMD. Researchers at Nationwide Children’s have found that two DNA variants that play a role in gene regulation are associated with prolonged ability to walk in boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Kevin Flanigan, MD, director of the Center for Gene Therapy,…

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Big Gains in FSHD Research: A Newly Published Model of FSHD and a Potential Gene Therapy to Improve Functional Outcomes
Big Gains in FSHD Research: A Newly Published Model of FSHD and a Potential Gene Therapy to Improve Functional Outcomes 150 150 Abbie Roth

The model aims to provide the basis for many future studies to bring therapeutic options to patients with FSHD. Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is the most prevalent dominantly inherited muscular dystrophy in the world. To date, there are no pharmacologic treatments available for the more than 850,000 people affected worldwide. Developing models to use for…

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Preclinical Gene Therapy Study Shows Muscle Restoration in Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease Model
Preclinical Gene Therapy Study Shows Muscle Restoration in Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease Model 150 150 Kevin Mayhood

Tests of NT-3 gene therapy on mouse models suggest potential to treat a host of muscle-wasting conditions.

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Can Gene Therapy Treat Dominantly Inherited Disorders?
Can Gene Therapy Treat Dominantly Inherited Disorders? 1024 575 Abbie Roth
Colorful illustration of gene therapy in action

Recent applications of adeno-associated virus (AAV) mediated gene therapy have focused mainly on correcting recessively inherited diseases. But what about dominantly inherited disorders? It looks like AAV could be a delivery mechanism for treating those genetic disorders, too. Most applications of AAV-mediated gene therapy research are in recessively inherited rare diseases. The affected individuals have…

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FDA APPROVAL: Gene Therapy Comes of Age
FDA APPROVAL: Gene Therapy Comes of Age 1024 575 Abbie Roth
Colorful illustration of gene therapy in action

UPDATED: May 2019 On May 24, 2019, the FDA approved Zolgensma (formerly AVXS-101), a first-of-its-kind gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy. In the 13 months that have passed since this article first posted, the long-term outcomes of gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) have continued to bolster the community’s hope for the treatments. Now,…

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Phase 1 Study Shows Promise of Gene Replacement Therapy for Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1
Phase 1 Study Shows Promise of Gene Replacement Therapy for Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1 1024 575 Abbie Roth

The phase 1 clinical study shows that gene therapy extends survival of patients and supports achievement of milestones previously unseen in the natural course of the disease. A one-time intravenous infusion of the high dose of gene therapy extended the survival of patients with spinal muscular atrophy type 1 (SMA1), according to a study published in…

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Inside the Good Manufacturing Production Facility
Inside the Good Manufacturing Production Facility 1024 575 Tiasha Letostak, PhD

By removing a barrier to access – production of pharmaceutical products for clinical trial – the team at the GMP facility is bringing more treatments to rare diseases. A newly designed, 7,500 square foot clean room suite with multi-use viral vector and cell therapy capabilities is expediting the bench-to-bedside process of bringing life-saving treatments to…

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Oligodendrocytes Induce Motor Neuron Death in ALS
Oligodendrocytes Induce Motor Neuron Death in ALS 150 150 Jeb Phillips

A first-of-its-kind oligodendrocyte in vitro model shows that human cells normally supportive of motor neuron function play an active role in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis pathogenesis – and this discovery may point the way toward therapeutic timing and targets. A number of studies over the last decade have shown that cells which normally support motor neurons,…

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Visualizing Gene Therapy for SMA
Visualizing Gene Therapy for SMA 150 150 Abbie Roth

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a degenerative neuromuscular disease, is the most common genetic cause of death for infants. Virtually all children affected with SMA type 1 die by 2 years of age. In 2014, Jerry Mendell, MD, director of the Center for Gene Therapy in the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, began a phase 1 gene transfer clinical…

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Gene Therapy’s Road to Redemption
Gene Therapy’s Road to Redemption 150 150 Kelli Whitlock Burton

Fifteen years ago, gene therapy suffered a highly visible fatality, leaving the field in shambles. Now, one team’s efforts at gene therapy for muscular dystrophy suggest the field may finally be on track to deliver on its initial promise. During the first few weeks of September in 1999, a 36-year-old air traffic controller from South…

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