Tag Archives: clinical trials

Episode 26: The Road to Newborn Screening in TSC



In Episode 26 of TSC Now, host Dan Klein takes a deep dive into one of the newer and exciting frontiers in TSC research: Newborn Screening. Last Fall, the TSC Alliance hosted an Innovation Workshop that brought together TSC researchers, newborn screening experts and other nonprofits with experience advocating for other diseases to be included in the newborn screening panel to start to set the road map forward. From that meeting the TSC Alliance put a call out to our community for dried blood spots from infants with TSC in certain states to help eventually validate an assay and earlier this month we put out a call for proposals to fund research to start developing that assay. To understand where we need to go and what will be necessary to get tuberous sclerosis complex added to the recommended uniform screening panel (RUSP), Dan spoke to two people who helped organize the Innovation Workshop.

First, Dan spoke to Hope Northrup, MD (01:42), Director of the Division of Medical Genetics, Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, and TSC Clinic Director at the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Drawing from an impressive career in both TSC and newborn screening, Hope provides a history of newborn screening both in general and in the United States, what they key tenets are to determining whether a disease should be included on the RUSP, and ultimately what the clinical and research benefits are to having TSC included.

Next, Dan spoke to TSC Alliance Chief Scientific Officer Steve Roberds, PhD (23:31), to better understand how newborn screening fits into the larger research efforts of the organization, what steps we have taken to date to move this process forward, and what potential hypotheses we are hoping to test through new research funding. Steve also shares what the timeline and next steps are for both researchers and advocates once an effective and sensitive assay is in place.

The TS Alliance is Seeking Historical Dried Blood Spots and Cord Blood from Individuals with TSC for Newborn Screening Assay Development. Was your child with TSC born in Michigan, New York, Texas, or California? The TSC Alliance is actively seeking access to newborn dried blood spots and stored cord blood from babies born after 1985. If you are interested in donating samples that are potentially stored in your state to the TSC Alliance, please email biosample@tscalliance.org.

The TSC Alliance also recently announced a new funding opportunity for Newborn Screening (NBS) Assay Development. If you are a researcher interested in learning more about this opportunity and submitting a letter of intent you can learn more at www.tscalliance.org/grants. The deadline to submit an LOI is Monday, August 23.

Resources and Links


Episode 25: Lymphangioleiomyomatosis & Worldwide LAM Awareness Month (#WWLAM)



In Episode 25 of TSC Now, host Dan Klein recognizes Worldwide LAM Awareness Month (#WWLAM) by focusing on lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), a rare lung disease affecting women that is characterized by an abnormal growth of smooth muscle cells, especially in the lungs, lymphatic system and kidneys. LAM is caused by mutations in the same gene(s) as TSC and is a common manifestation for women with TSC but can also occur sporadically with no other TSC manifestations. To help raise awareness of LAM on the last day of Worldwide LAM Awareness Day, this episode will focus exclusively on LAM, research being done to develop new treatments and ultimately a cure, and the organization that is leading the charge to improve the lives of women with LAM in the US.

First, Dan talks to Sue Sherman, MHA, Chief Executive Officer of The LAM Foundation (02:18). The LAM Foundation was founded in 1995 by a mother of a woman with LAM with a mission to urgently seeks safe and effective treatments, and ultimately a cure, for lymphangioleiomyomatosis through advocacy and the funding of promising research. They are dedicated to serving the scientific, medical and patient communities by offering information, resources and a worldwide network of hope and support. They discuss how The LAM Foundation has changed over the years, how their investment in research has helped pave the way for breakthroughs, how the organization pivoted during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they are raising awareness of LAM during Worldwide LAM Awareness month.

Next, Dan talks to Hilaire Lam, PhD (14:22), Research Associate in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. The ultimate goal of Dr. Lam’s research is to leverage mTORC1-driven mitochondrial alterations to uncover therapeutic targets for TSC and LAM. She shares more about the aims of her research, how she first became interested in LAM, what gaps exist in our understanding of LAM and how researchers are currently looking to address those outstanding questions to develop new therapies. She also discusses how she is motivated by women living with LAM and how their relentlessness inspires her to help find a cure.

Earlier this month in recognition of Worldwide LAM Awareness Month, the TSC Alliance hosted an e-webinar titled “LAM in TSC: Surveillance, Treatment and Research” presented by Souheil Y. El-Chemaly, MD, Clinical Director of the Center for LAM Research and Clinical Care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The webinar covered surveillance, management and treatment recommendations based on the latest consensus guidelines, clinical trials currently taking place and a look to the future of research in LAM. A recording of the presentation will be available on our e-webinars website soon at tscalliance.org/e-webinars.

Resources and Links

             


Episode 23: Autism Spectrum Disorder in TSC and TACERN



In Episode 23 of TSC Now, host Dan Klein recognizes World Autism Month and Autism Acceptance Month by learning more about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). ASD occurs in nearly 50% of children with TSC, significantly higher the rate in the general population (roughly 1% worldwide). Additionally, there is a very clear link between ASD and cognitive impairment in TSC.

To better understand the connection between autism and TSC, and how ongoing research can help expand our knowledge of autism not just in TSC, but more generally, Dan spoke to Mustafa Sahin, MD, PhD, (02:11) Director of both the Translational Neuroscience Center and the Multi-Disciplinary Tuberous Sclerosis Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Sahin is one of the Principal Investigators of the TSC Autism Center of Excellence Research Network, otherwise known as TACERN. TACERN is a coalition of five research hospitals: Boston Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of California at Los Angeles and University of Texas at Houston. The group was formed in 2012 and received a grant from the NIH to better understand autism in TSC and to identify potential biomarkers that could predict what children were at higher risk of cognitive manifestations. From that initial grant 80 papers have been published on a wide range of discoveries in TSC. Dr. Sahin shares some of the discoveries from the last decade, how discoveries made in autism in TSC have wider implications for autism in general, the current progress on identifying biomarkers, and what questions remain.

Finally, we are officially two weeks away from the Step Forward to Cure TSC® Global Virtual Walk-Run-Ride on May 15 and 16, coinciding with TSC Global Awareness Day. This historic, world-wide event will bring together thousands of people from across the globe, all working together to champion the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance’s efforts to fund groundbreaking research, offer critically needed support programs and increase awareness. Our goal is to raise $700,000 toward that mission, and there is still time for you to donate, register and fundraise to help us hit that goal. However you participate, your support makes a tangible difference in the lives of everyone with TSC. Learn the many ways you can get involved at www.stepforwardtocuretsc.org. Thank you to both the National and Local sponsors for championing this amazing event!

National Sponsors

Local Sponsors

Resources and Links


Episode 17: Gene Therapy in TSC



In episode 17 of TSC Now, host Dan Klein talks to Xandra Breakefield, PhD, Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and a geneticist, specializing in neurology & tadiology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Breakefield’s research focuses on gene therapy in preclinical mouse models of TSC in which the TSC1 or TSC2 gene are missing. By introducing the missing gene into the bloodstream via an adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector, Dr. Breakefield has been able to normalize brain structures and extend the lifespan to almost normal length in mouse models of both TSC1 and TSC2. This research was funded in part by grants through the Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Research Program (TSCRP), demonstrating how funds appropriated because of the tireless advocacy during the March on Capitol Hill has meaningfully advanced TSC research. They discuss how AAV vector technology is already being used in other diseases, what are the potential benefits of gene therapy in TSC over current treatment options, and how to transition from ongoing preclinical trials to future clinical trials.

Resources and Links
Read more about Dr. Breakefield’s Research: https://cdmrp.army.mil/tscrp/research_highlights/19breakefield_highlight
Register now for the final Virtual TSC & LAM Conference and view tracks from the previous two: https://www.tsalliance.org/news/join-us-for-the-2020-virtual-tsc-lam-conference-series/
Visit the Virtual Exhibit Hall: https://www.tsalliance.org/virtual-exhibit-hall/
Learn more about a clinical study for individuals with TSC who contracted COVID-19: https://www.tsalliance.org/tsc-matters/have-you-or-your-loved-one-with-tsc-been-diagnosed-with-covid-19-2/


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


Episode 1: TSC Global Day, 45th Anniversary and the Future of TSC Research



Welcome to the debut episode of TSC Now, a podcast from the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance! In this episode Dan Klein, Director of Digital Platforms, talked to Jennifer Flinn from TS Canada ST, Eva Schoeters from Be-TSC in Belgium, and Rahul Vipparthi from the TS Alliance of India about the challenges they face in their countries, TSC Global Awareness Day and how they are spreading awareness of TSC. He also talked to Kari Luther Rosbeck, President and CEO of the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance and Chief Scientific Officer Steve Roberds, PhD, about the organization’s 45th anniversary and history, how Unlock the Cure changed the role of the TS Alliance in driving research and what the future holds for TSC research. Finally, Dan talked to Jill Woodworth, host of TSC Talks, about why she started a podcast, what her future plans are for TSC Talks and what she’s learned through the conversations she has had with her guests.

TS Canada ST: https://www.tscanada.ca/

Be-TSC: http://www.betsc.be/

TS Alliance of India: http://tsa-india.org/

To learn more about the Educational Meeting and International TSC Research Conference in Toronto visit: https://www.tsalliance.org/news/the-2019-international-tsc-research-conference-is-june-20-22-in-toronto/

To read about the TANDem Project visit: https://www.tsalliance.org/international-tand-research-project-awarded-funding/

To read the Executive Summary of the Research Business Plan visit: https://www.tsalliance.org/about-us/

To listen to TSC Talks visit: https://www.spreaker.com/show/jill-mccutchan-woodworths-tracks

Send your questions for the Question and Answer episode to tscnow@tsalliance.org.