Episode 37: The MILED Trial and the Future of LAM Research



In this episode of TSC Now, host Dan Klein celebrates Worldwide LAM Awareness Month (#WWLAM) and raises awareness of lymphanhgioleiomyomatosis (LAM) and a pivotal clinical trial in LAM that is enrolling right now.

Dan interviews Frank McCormack, MD, Professor and Director of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at University of Cincinnati and former Scientific Director of The Lam Foundation for 25 years. Dr. McCormack is the lead investigator for the Multicenter Interventional Lymphangioleiomyomatosis Early Disease (MILED) Trial, designed to answer the question of whether we should be starting sirolimus at low doses earlier in the course of LAM, before symptoms develop and while lung function is still normal, similar to the manner in which we treat diabetes and high blood pressure early to prevent future heart and kidney complications..

Dr. McCormack shares how the previous MILES trial which led to the approval of sirolimus for the treatment of LAM in 2015 gave women a safe and effective treatment and created the foundation for the current trial looking at whether earlier intervention may potentially prevent serious loss of lung function for women with LAM. He shares the eligibility criteria for the trial, the risks and benefits of participation and how those interested in participating can enroll. He also discusses the future of LAM research and how new tests, preclinical models and drug candidates are needed to accelerate therapies that don’t just impede the growth of LAM cells, but actually kills the cells to help restore lost lung function.

Researchers are currently seeking 10 additional participants for the MILED Trial.

You may be eligible if you:

  • Are an adult woman with LAM
  • Have an FEV1 greater than 70% predicted
  • Are not currently taking sirolimus

During the study, participants will:

  • Attend 8 study visits over 2 years (about one visit every 4 months)
  • Complete blood tests, a physical exam, and pulmonary function tests at visits
  • Answer questions about breathing, fatigue and quality of life
  • Take one capsule every day (1 mg sirolimus or a sugar pill) throughout the study
  • Record their pill taking and any side effects in an electronic diary

Participants will receive:

  • Physical exams, pulmonary function tests, a chest x-ray, and laboratory tests free of charge
  • Study drug (either 1 mg sirolimus or placebo) throughout the study
  • Reimbursement for travel expenses to attend each study visit

To get more information or to see if you may be eligible, please contact Susan McMahan Sellers, BSN, RN at SUSAN.MCMAHAN@UC.EDU or by calling 513-558-4376.

Resources and Links

This podcast is sponsored by:


Episode 36: TSC Awareness Month



In this episode of TSC Now, host Dan Klein recognizes TSC Awareness Month and the 10th Annual TSC Global Awareness Day! He starts by providing an update on the Step Forward to Cure TSC® Global Hybrid Walk-Run-Ride. Fundraising pages are open until the end of the year, help us reach our goal at stepforwardtocuretsc.org. You can watch the #StepForward4TSC Lunch and Learns on YouTube and Facebook. Be sure to also check out our event montage.

Next, Dan talks to two TSC dads who are both registered for the 2022 World TSC Conference. First, he interviews Ary Agami, President of the TSC Alliance of Mexico. Ary shares how hard it was getting treatment for his daughter in Mexico, how he connected with other families to build a network of support, and how attending the last World TSC Conference gave him the opportunity to connect with doctors, researchers and bring that knowledge and those resources back to Mexico.

As part of the 2022 World TSC Conference there will be a free session for Spanish-speaking families. This session will feature a panel of experts who will provide resources and information to the Spanish-speaking TSC community on new clinical consensus guidelines for TSC. The meeting will be held on Friday, July 29 from 5:30 to 7 pm Central at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas. Register here.

Then, Dan talks to Guillermo Henrici, a TSC dad in Atlanta, GA, who shares the story of his daughter Lily’s journey with TSC. He recounts how he connected with the TSC Alliance and what it meant to him to attend the 2018 World TSC Conference and meet other families like his. Thank you Ary and Guillermo for graciously sharing your stories and helping raise awareness of TSC both in Mexico and here in the United States.

You don’t want to miss the  2022 World Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) Conference, July 28-31, 2022, at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, TX, co-hosted by Tuberous Sclerosis Complex International (TSCi). The conference will bring together 1,000 participants from around the globe, including families and individuals with TSC, caregivers, healthcare professionals, researchers, a wide array of exhibitors and others. Register by June 30, 2022 to get the best price!

Register Today!

Resources and Links

This podcast is sponsored by:


Episode 35: The Past, Present and Future of Autism Research in TSC



In this episode of TSC Now, host Dan Klein recognizes World Autism Month by taking a a deep dive on the past, present and future of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research in TSC. Dan talks to Shafali Jeste, MD, Chief of Neurology and Las Madrinas Chair at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Dr. Jeste shares what first sparked her interest in autism and her early work on the characterization of autism at Boston Children’s Hospital, subsequent studies looking for biomarkers of autism, and how the discovery of those biomarkers paved the way for current early intervention studies, including the JASPER Early Intervention for Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (JETS) Study. She also talks about how the JETS Study pivoted to remote participation to help enrollment, and how researchers need to do more to reduce barriers for clinical trials and recruit diverse participation.

Enrollment is ending soon on the JETS Study, learn more about the study and how to participate here: https://www.jetsstudy.org/

Register now for the 20th Anniversary Step Forward to Cure TSC® Global Hybrid Walk-Run-Ride on May 14-15, 2022! 

As part of the weekend’s festivities we will be hosting three in-person events at West Chester, PA; Carrollton, TX; and Irwindale, CA! Simply choose the location you’d like to attend when you register. You can also participate virtually in your neighborhood, around your house or wherever you are!

Learn more at stepforwardtocuretsc.org.

 

You don’t want to miss the  2022 World Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) Conference, July 28-31, 2022, at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, TX, co-hosted by Tuberous Sclerosis Complex International (TSCi). The conference will bring together 1,000 participants from around the globe, including families and individuals with TSC, caregivers, healthcare professionals, researchers, a wide array of exhibitors and others. Register by June 1, 2022 to get the best price!

Register Today!


Episode 34: Celebrating 20 Years of Comedy for a Cure



In this episode of TSC Now, host Dan Klein recognizes the 20th Anniversary Comedy for a Cure® on Sunday, April 3 at the Avalon in Hollywood, California! To kick off the celebration, Dan learns about the past and present of this amazing events from some dedicated volunteers, and interviews one of this year’s honorees.

First, Dan talks to the very funny Craig Shoemaker (0:52), who serves on the Comedian Committee and helps book comedians for the event every year. Craig shares how he first got involved with the event, how this show is different from other comedy shows, how he pitches the show to prospective comedians and what ultimately gets them to stay involved year after year.

Then, Dan talks to Lis Szilagyi (10:49), a TSC Alliance volunteer and mother to a young adult with TSC. She shares how she first got connected to the Southern California TSC community, where the idea for hosting a comedy fundraiser came from and how Comedy for a Cure has evolved over the years.

Finally, Dan talks to Jo Anne Nakagawa (21:34), TC Alliance Director of Clinical Projects and TSC Clinic Liaison. She shares how she first got involved in the pivotal vigabatrin study at UCLA, how she found her way to the TSC Alliance and what she’s most proud of accomplishing while with the organization. Jo Anne will be honored with the TSC Champion Award for her steadfast commitment to the TSC community for nearly three decades.

Learn more about this year’s Comedy for a Cure at www.ComedyforaCure.org.


Episode 33: Noema, Basimglurant and a New Clinical Trial for Seizures in TSC



In a very special early episode of TSC Now, host Dan Klein recognizes International #EpilepsyDay and the kickoff of the second annual Seizure Action Plan Awareness Week. In November 2020, a collaboration of three non-profit organizations, the TSC Alliance, Dravet Syndrome Foundation and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) Foundation, launched the Seizure Action Plan (SAP) Coalition to educate people with epilepsy, their caregivers and healthcare professionals about seizure emergency rescue protocols and the importance of personalized seizure action plans.  As part of this effort the group is recognizing Seizure Action Plan Awareness Week (#SAPAW2022) to coincide with International Epilepsy Awareness Day on February 14.

This month’s episode is sponsored by Noema Pharma and explores their clinical trial to treat seizures common in TSC. A Swiss biotech company, Noema, is investigating a novel substance which has shown some positive effects in laboratory models related to tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). The substance is called basimglurant, and it affects the activity of glutamate, an important molecule used by many neurons to communicate with other neurons in the brain, by acting on a receptor for glutamate called mGluR5. The company is setting up clinical trials to test whether the effect seen in the laboratory may also be seen in people.

First, to learn more about basimglurant and preclinical experiments underpinning the upcoming clinical trial, Dan spoke to Ype Elgersma, Professor of Molecular Neuroscience, Head of Research in the Department of Clinical Genetics, and Director of the ENCORE Expertise Center for Neurodevelopment Disorders at the Erasmus Medical Center In The Netherlands; and John Kemp, Former Chief Scientific Officer at Noema (02:28). They share what metabotropic glutamate receptor 5, or mGluR5, is and how increased activity at mGluR5 may lead to epilepsy; how negative modulators of this overactivity may be used as a treatment for epilepsy in TSC, and how Dr. Mustafa Sahin of Harvard Medical School tested this hypothesis in TSC mouse models. Findings from this study was published in 2018 in Neuropsychopharmacology. 

Next, Dan spoke to Ali Mostajelean, MD, Associate Professor of Neurology, Director of the Epilepsy Service and Tuberous Sclerosis Clinic at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital; and George Garibaldi, Chief Medical Officer at Noema (07:55). They shared how Noema is using the findings in animal models as justification for a clinical trial and share how clinical studies using basimglurant for depression and Fragile X showed that the compound was safe in humans, albeit not as effective as researchers thought it would be in those disease states.

Finally, Dan spoke with Renata Lazarova, VP of Development, Pediatric Programs at Noema, and Steve Roberds, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of the TSC Alliance (10:55), to learn what the clinical trial looks like, who can enroll, how Noema will determine whether the drug is efficacious and safe, and where people can find more information. Steve also talked about our partnership with Noema and how they worked with the TSC Alliance early on to solicit feedback from the TSC community and design a trial that both meets the needs of those with TSC and considers the quality of life of those participating.

Noema’s clinical study with their negative modulator of mGluR5 is currently participants across the US, Russia, Ukraine, Israel and Australia. For more information including the list of sites participating in the study, please contact Jo Anne Nakagawa at jnakagawa@tscalliance.org or (301) 562-9890.

Resources and Links
Learn more about International Epilepsy Day: https://internationalepilepsyday.org/
Learn more about the Seizure Action Plan Coalition and #SAPAW2022: https://seizureactionplans.org/
Learn more about epilepsy in TSC: https://www.tscalliance.org/about-tsc/signs-and-symptoms-of-tsc/brain-and-neurological-function/epilepsy-and-seizure-disorders/
Read an abstract of Dr. Sahin’s research looking at mGluR5 Modulation of Behavioral and Epileptic Phenotypes in a Mouse Model of Tuberous Sclerosis Complex: https://www.nature.com/npp/about?gclid=Cj0KCQiA34OBBhCcARIsAG32uvPcCBYuxzzlON-Xe9EikeYJD6XNNl8TDElaFiONa-02BSWFUv4w2voaAk6REALw_wcB

This episode is sponsored by:

Learn more about Noema Pharma: https://noemapharma.com/


Episode 32: The 2022 World TSC Conference



In the first episode of TSC Now in 2022, host Dan Klein provides an overview of the upcoming 2022 World TSC Conference, co-hosted by Tuberous Sclerosis Complex International (TSCi), which will be held July 28-31, 2022 and will bring together 1,000 participants from around the globe, including families and individuals with TSC, caregivers, healthcare professionals, researchers, a wide array of exhibitors, and others. Thank you to Title Sponsor Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Presenting Sponsor Nobelpharma for making this incredible conference possible.

Dan interviews Shelly Meitzler, Director, Community Education & Resources at the TSC Alliance® and Co-Chair of the conference about how the conference is structured, what sorts of topics will be covered, what social events are happening at the conference and how people can participate both in person and remotely. Shelly also shares why she thinks this is one of the most important events the TSC Alliance hosts and reflects on some of her favorite moments from the last World TSC Conference in 2018.

Conference registration is now open, register today! The early bird registration deadline is June 1, 2022. Also, be sure to book your room with the Hilton Anatole through our link to get our special rate.

Thanks to the generous support from the Foglia Family Foundation and the TSC Alliance Endowment Fund to the Bcureful Travel Fund, the TSC Alliance will provide a limited number of scholarships in memory of Ken Johnson to individuals or families who might otherwise not be able to attend the 2022 World TSC Conference. Scholarship applications are available hereAll applications are due by March 1, 2022.

Resources and Links:


Episode 31: The Present and Future of TSC & LAM Research



In the final episode of TSC Now in 2021, host Dan Klein recaps the 2021 Virtual International TSC & LAM Research Conference: Driving Discoveries Beyond Boundaries, presented by Greenwich Biosciences and the Rothberg Institute of Childhood Diseases and co-hosted by the TSC Alliance® and The LAM Foundation. The conference brought together 179 people from 18 countries including researchers with a wide array of specialties and representing everything from basic to clinical science, who took part in plenary sessions, oral presentations, posters, and discussions around cross-cutting topics, including big data and clinical translation.

Dan chats with conference co-chairs Nishant Gupta, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati, Director of the LAM Clinic Network, and Scientific Director of the LAM Foundation, and Rebecca Ihrie, PHD, Associate Professor of Cell and  Developmental Biology and Neurosurgery at Vanderbilt University about their impressions of the conference overall, what topics they found most interesting and how the TSC and LAM research community can build off the momentum of the conference and foster the next generation of TSC and LAM researchers. Dan also asks them what areas of TSC and LAM research they find most exciting and what they think the future holds for the field.

Resources and Links:


Episode 30: Infantile Spasms Awareness Week 2021



In Episode 30 of TSC Now, host Dan Klein kicks of Infantile Spams Awareness Week 2021, an initiative from the Infantile Spasms Action Network (ISAN) that runs December 1-7. ISAN is a collaboration of 32 national and international entities, including the TSC Alliance, focused on raising awareness for infantile spasms, a devastating type of seizure that usually begins in children who are less than one year old and can lead to developmental delay.

This year in addition to raising awareness of IS to parents and caregivers, ISAN is redoubling our efforts to educate frontline physicians, including pediatricians and ER doctors, who might be the first person confronted with an IS case and who are key to elevating those cases to the appropriate specialists to ensure a quick diagnosis and start of treatment.

To better understand the challenges physicians may face when trying to diagnose IS and how ISAN might reach physicians with our messaging, Dan chats with Dr. John Mytinger (01:31), a pediatric neurologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Neurology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. He shares why IS can be tough to diagnose, what the seizures look like, and how professors, doctors and advocates all play a role in educating medical professionals. He also discusses what parents should do if they suspect their child is having infantile spasms.

Throughout the week the TSC Alliance and other ISAN members will be posting about Infantile Spasms on our social media channels. Join the conversation and help spread awareness with #ISAW2021.

If you or someone you know suspects their child is having infantile spasms, remember the mnemonic STOP IS.
[S]ee the signs
[T]ake a video
[O]btain a diagnosis
[P]rioritize treatment

Time is brain. The faster a child is diagnosed and treated for infantile spasms, the less the potential for long-term neurological effects. Learn more about Infantile Spasms Awareness Week (Dec. 1–7) at www.infantilespasms.org.

Links and Resources


Episode 29: The TSC Navigator



In Episode 29 of TSC Now, host Dan Klein highlights TSC Navigator, an easy-to-use, interactive online tool to help guide individuals and families through the complexities of tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) across the lifespan, proactively manage their care and live their fullest lives. TSC Navigator was launched in October 2021 and includes sections on “Beginning Your Journey,” “Stories of Hope,” “Medical Challenges,” “Support Navigators” and “Resources.”  Users can access information based on the age of one’s TSC diagnosis, such as prenatal, childhood or adult, to help determine which steps will help empower them throughout their individual journeys. You can learn more about the TSC Navigator at tscalliance.org/tscnavigator.

First, Dan talks to Ashley Pounders (02:06), MSN, FNP-C, TSC Alliance Director of Medical Affairs who led the development of TSC Navigator. She shares who all was involved in developing content and designing the layout of the TSC Navigator (including medical experts, corporate partners and the TSC community), how her experience as a former healthcare professional shaped what information she wanted to include in the tool, and how the tool works independently and in tandem with the TSC Alliance website. She also describes the many challenges TSC individuals and families face along their journey and how the TSC navigator provides templates and resources caretakers and individuals with TSC can take with them when meeting with their doctors and advocating for care.

Next, Dan talks to Dana Holinka (16:18), Chair of the Outreach Committee on the TSC Alliance Board of Directors, longtime volunteer and parent to an adult with TSC. Dana shares where the idea for creating the navigator came from, what her experience was like receiving a TSC diagnosis without access to the resources we have today, and the challenges she faced that the navigator helps new families prepare for. She also offers her advice to parents who are receiving a new TSC diagnosis and coming to the website and TSC navigator tool for the first time.

The development of the TSC Navigator would not been possible without our generous sponsors:

North Star Sponsors

       

Compass Sponsor

Cardinal Sponsor

Directional Sponsors

          


Episode 28: Comedy for a Cure® 2021!



In a very special episode of TSC Now, host Dan Klein provides a sneak peek of the 19.5 Annual Comedy for a Cure® on Sunday October 17 at 7:30 pm Eastern/ 4:30 pm Pacific! This will be a hybrid event, so if you live in Southern California and are fully vaccinated you can attend in-person at Feinstein’s at Vitello’s in Studio City, California. In person tickets are $75. Also, just like last year we will livestream the show so you can watch from the comfort of your couch! Virtual tickets are $25 per screen and we encourage you to invite your friends over and host a watch party. To help get you excited for the show, Dan spoke to the hosts and guests of this year’s event!

First, Dan talked with incredibly funny Jim O’Heir (02:17), who will be one of the hosts for Comedy for a Cure. Jim shares how he first got involved with the event in 2013 and didn’t know the name of the disease, why he continues to stay involved in any way he can, and how he connects with families with TSC that he meets at the event and online. He also sheds some light on how the Comedy Committee for the event works and makes an ultimatum for anyone not considering buying tickets to the event.

Next, Dan catches up with Wendy Liebman, the other host of the event (18:55). She shares how misplaced mail jump started her comedy career, what her experience was like competing on America’s Got Talent, and how she was able to secure the amazing lineup of comedians for the show. This year we will be honoring all the ways she has helped move our mission forward by awarding her with the TSC Champion award.

Finally, Dan spoke to Althea Grace (29:44), musician and TSC mom who burst on to the scene on American Idol Season 19.  Originally from Chicago, her journey with her two-year old daughter Lennon was highlighted and helped raise incredible awareness of TSC. She shares how her music was inspired by her experience in the hospital when her daughter needed a liver transplant, her road to getting a TSC diagnosis, and how being on the show helped her connect with other people affected by TSC across the country. For her efforts we will be honoring Althea with the Courage in Leadership Award and she will also be performing at this year’s event.

Get your Comedy for a Cure tickets now at www.comedyforacure.org!

Learn more about Althea Grace at https://altheagraceband.com/.