Tag Archives: clinical research

Episode 21: 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 first day of the first-ever Seizure Action Plan Awareness Week. In November, a collaboration of three non-profit organizations, the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance (TS Alliance), the Dravet Syndrome Foundation and the 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 (#SAPAW2021) to coincide with International Epilepsy Awareness Day on February 8.

This month’s episode is sponsored by Noema Pharma and explores their upcoming 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, 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 (08:14). 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 (11:32), to learn what the clinical trial will look like, who can enroll, how Noema will determine whether the drug is efficacious and safe, and where people can find more information once the trial is launched. Steve also talked about our partnership with Noema and how they worked with the TS 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 starting in spring 2020 and will recruit participants across US and Canada, Europe and Australia. For more information including the list of sites participating in the study, please check the TS Alliance website or contact Jo Anne Nakagawa at jnakagawa@tsalliance.org or (301) 562-9890. We will share more information about the trial and how you can enroll on social media, our website and in our E-Newsletter, TSC Matters as it becomes available. Subscribe to TSC Matters to not miss any updates. 

Resources and Links
Learn more about International Epilepsy Day: https://internationalepilepsyday.org/
Learn more about the Seizure Action Plan Coalition and #SAPAW2021: https://seizureactionplans.org/
Read a press release about this new coalition: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-coalition-launches-to-promote-importance-of-seizure-emergency-plans-301164188.html?tc=eml_cleartime
Learn more about epilepsy in TSC: https://www.tsalliance.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
Subscribe to TSC Matters: https://www.tsalliance.org/tsc-matters-opt-in/

This episode is sponsored by:

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


Episode 18: Understanding COVID-19’s Impact on Those with TSC & LAM



In episode 18 of TSC Now, host Dan Klein talks to Nishant Gupta, MD, Associate Professor in the Division of Pulmonology, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the University of Cincinnati where he serves as the Director of the Interstitial and Rare Lung Disease Program.

We discuss what researchers and clinicians have learned so far about how COVID-19 impacts those with TSC and LAM, what potential future vaccines mean for those affected, and how individuals with TSC and LAM who have already contracted COVID-19, confirmed by testing, can participate in an important Natural History Database study to help us better understand the risk and severity of the virus.

Learn more about the study here: https://www.tsalliance.org/tsc-matters/have-you-or-your-loved-one-with-tsc-been-diagnosed-with-covid-19-2/. If you or your loved one had COVID-19 confirmed by testing and do not go to one of the TSC Clinics listed or have questions, please contact Jo Anne Nakagawa at jnakagawa@tsalliance.org or 1-800-225-6872.

At the end of the podcast I shared some ways you can support the TS Alliance this holiday season and on #GivingTuesday on December 1. Here are four ways you can get involved:

  1. Create a #GivingTuesday Facebook Fundraiser (We created a guide on how to get started here: http://www.tsalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Giving-Tuesday-Instructions-2020.pdf).
  2. Do your holiday shopping using Amazon Smile (We also have a helpful guide on getting started with Amazon Smile here: http://www.tsalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Setting-up-Amazon-Smile.pdf).
  3.  Make a donation using our #GivingTuesday Page

  4. Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and encourage your friends and family to follow us too! And while you’re at it, be sure to subscribe to TSC Now so you don’t miss future episodes.

Finally, December 1-7 is Infantile Spasms Awareness Week (ISAW), to learn more about infantile spasms and ISAW 2020 go to https://infantilespasms.org/.

Resources and Links
Check out all of the TS Alliance’s COVID-19 Resources: https://www.tsalliance.org/individuals-families/covid-19/
Dr. Gupta first shared his recommendations earlier this year during a DEA World Forum Webinar, which you can re-watch here: https://youtu.be/Xwj2PiZ6gik
Dr. Gupta presented an update on COVID-19 and LAM at the first Virtual TSC & LAM Conference in September, watch it now here: https://youtu.be/QmS_dQELzA8 


Episode 11: A #March4TSCresearch Recap & Update on COVID-19



In episode 11 of TSC Now, host Dan Klein recaps our annual March on Capitol Hill, which took place on March 4, 2020 in Washington, DC and brought together more than 100 volunteers from across the country to advocate for continued funding for the Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Research Program (TSCRP) at the Department of Defense. He then shares resources the TS Alliance has created to address the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

First, Dan talks to Mark Vieth (2:04), Senior Vice President at Cavarocchi Ruscio Dennis Associates, who serves as a consultant for the TS Alliance’s advocacy efforts and helps prepare our volunteers for their meetings with their representatives. They discuss what goes on at the Training Dinner before March on Capitol Hill, what key messages volunteers should bring to their meetings, and why this effort has been so successful over the years.

Next, Dan interviews Bridget Britt (10:54), an advocate and mom from California. She shares why she advocates and how coming to March on Capitol Hill gives her strength and purpose.

Dan then talks to Sam Barth (15:42), a graduate student working in Kim Raab-Graham’s lab at Wake Forest University Medical School. Sam shares how the March on Capitol Hill provides meaningful context for the work he does in the lab and also discusses how the funding his mentor Kim received through the TSCRP helped generate new insights on TSC.

Dan then shares resources the TS Alliance has developed in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (25:44), including a FAQ guide for parents and caregivers, resources for TSC medical professionals, and a schedule of upcoming webinars, virtual Town Halls and Open Forums. All of these resources can be found at tsalliance.org/COVID-19.

Finally, Dan continues his Get to Know the TS Alliance segment by talking to Justin Martucci (28:40), Development Services Manager at the TS Alliance. They talk about how Justin has spearheaded the TS Alliance database cleanup and transition to new platforms, what he does when he’s not in the office, and how he is managing working from home during the pandemic.

In the April episode of TSC Now, Dan will be diving deeper into how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the TSC community and he wants to hear from you! Leave a voicemail at (240) 638-4644 with your first name, where you are calling from and how the pandemic has affected you, and your call may be played on the April episode!

March on Capitol Hill Resources:
For more information on the Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Research Program (TSCRP), visit: https://cdmrp.army.mil/tscrp/default
To read about Dr. Kim Raab-Graham’s research funded by the TSCRP, visit: https://cdmrp.army.mil/tscrp/research_highlights/17graham_highlight
For more information on the TS Alliance’s Government Advocacy Program, visit: https://www.tsalliance.org/engage/government-advocacy/
If you are interested in participating in our government advocacy program, send us an email to grc@tsalliance.org.

COVID-19 Resources:
For all of the TS Alliance’s resources on COVID-19, visit: tsalliance.org/COVID-19
To download a FAQ guide for parents and caregivers, visit: http://www.tsalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-FAQ.pdf
For resources for TSC medical professionals, go to: https://www.tsalliance.org/covid-19-resources-for-tsc-medical-professionals/
To see a schedule and register for our upcoming webinars, visit: https://www.tsalliance.org/upcoming-covid-19-and-tsc-webinars-and-virtual-town-halls/
To find recordings of previous webinars, visit: https://www.tsalliance.org/covid-19-webinar-and-virtual-town-hall-recordings/


Episode 5: TSC Kidney Manifestations & Consensus Guidelines for Surveillance and Treatment



In episode 5 of TSC Now, Dan Klein talks to Dr. John Bissler, MD, Clinic Director of the Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Center of Excellence located at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Director of Pediatric Nephrology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and the Medical Director of Nephrology at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. They discuss common kidney manifestations of tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), including renal cysts and renal angiomyolipoma (AML). The majority of individuals (greater than 80%) with TSC will develop some form of renal disease during their lifetime and renal-related disease is the most common cause of TSC-related death in adults, so they discuss the consensus guidelines for surveillance and treatment as it relates to kidney manifestations in TSC. They also discuss ongoing research to discover new treatments for AMLs and renal cysts.

To learn more about the kidney manifestations of TSC visit: https://www.tsalliance.org/about-tsc/signs-and-symptoms-of-tsc/kidneys/

To read about the general clinical consensus guidelines visit www.tsalliance.org/consensus. You can also read about the specific renal guidelines for TSC at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27504842.

Finally, to read Dr. Bissler’s paper on the reduction of post-embolization syndrome visit: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11979340.


Episode 3: The 2019 International TSC Research Conference



In the third episode of TSC Now, host Dan Klein, Director of Digital Platforms for the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance, talks to the two co-chairs of the 2019 International TSC Research Conference: Changing the Course of TSC. Continue reading Episode 3: The 2019 International TSC Research Conference