Exon skipping and dystrophin restoration in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy after systemic phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer treatment: an open-label, phase 2, dose-escalation study

S. Cirak, V. Arechavala-Gomeza, M. Guglieri, L. Feng, S. Torelli, K. Anthony, S. Abbs, M.E. Garralda, J. Bourke, D.J. Wells, G. Dickson, M.J.A. Wood, Steve Wilton, V. Straub, R. Kole, S.B. Shrewsbury, C. Sewry, J.E. Morgan, K. Bushby, F. Muntoni

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Abstract

Background We report clinical safety and biochemical efficacy from a dose-ranging study of intravenously administered AVI-4658 phosphorodiamidate Morph lino oligomer (PMO) in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.Method We undertook an open-label, phase 2, dose-escalation study (0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 4.0, 10.0, and 20.0 mg/kg bodyweight) in ambulant patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy aged 5-15 years with amenable deletions in DMD. Participants had a muscle biopsy before starting treatment and after 12 weekly intravenous infusions of AVI-4658. The primary study objective was to assess safety and tolerability of AVI-4658. The secondary objectives were pharmacokinetic properties and the ability of AVI-4658 to induce exon 51 skipping and dystroph in restoration by RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry, and immunoblotting. The study is registered, number NCT00844597.Findings 19 patients took part in the study. AVI-4658 was well tolerated with no drug-related serious adverse events. AVI-4658 induced exon 51 skipping in all cohorts and new dystrophin protein expression in a significant dose-dependent (p=0.0203), but variable, manner in boys from cohort 3 (dose 2 mg/kg) onwards. Seven patients responded to treatment, in whom mean dystrophin fluorescence intensity increased from 89% (95% CI 7.1-10.6) to 16.4% (10.8-22.0) of normal control after treatment (p=0.0287). The three patients with the greatest responses to treatment had 21%, 15%, and 55% dystrophin-positive fibres after treatment and these findings were confirmed with western blot, which showed an increase after treatment of protein levels from 2% to 18%, from 0.9% to 17%, and from 0% to 7.7% of normal muscle, respectively. The dystrophin-associated proteins a-sarcoglycan and neuronal nitric oxide synthase were also restored at the sarcolemma. Analysis of the inflammatory infiltrate indicated a reduction of cytotoxic T cells in the post-treatment muscle biopsies in the two high-dose cohorts.Interpretation The safety and biochemical efficacy that we present show the potential of AVI-4658 to become a disease-modifying drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-605
JournalLancet
Volume378
Issue number9791
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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