Newsletter from Prof. Urano:
My highest priority right now is to work out the logistics for the upcoming clinical Wolfram-trial. As our medical center announced in November this year, we plan to start a phase 1b safety clinical trial of dantrolene sodium in patients with Wolfram syndrome.
Dantrolene sodium is an FDA-approved drug utilized for the treatment of muscle stiffness. We found that dantrolene could prevent the destruction of insulin-secreting beta cells in animal models of Wolfram syndrome and in brain cells differentiated from skin samples taken from patients with the illness in 2014 after the 12 years of research. This drug can target the molecular pathways altered in Wolfram syndrome in cell and animal models of Wolfram syndrome. Nobody has ever tested dantrolene in patients with Wolfram syndrome, so our first and most important objective is to make sure it’s safe. We will also closely monitor patients’ vision and brain function, as well as the function of their remaining insulin-secreting beta cells based on the data collected through our research clinic study.
The major question that I get from every patient I see is, “Is there any treatment?” As you are aware, there is currently no treatment that can slow, halt, or reverse the clinical manifestations of Wolfram syndrome including vision impairment and diabetes.
I sincerely hope that this study can help change that. I have been working with Dr. Tim Barrett in the UK to conduct international clinical trials for Wolfram syndrome. In parallel, we keep on developing novel drugs and regenerative therapies for Wolfram syndrome.
As we near the end of this year, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support. You have provided patients with hope and emotional support. Together with you, we can make a difference in the future of our patients. Thank you again for your generous support and continued encouragement. You gave me the power and courage to continue. I cannot thank you enough. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.
Fumi Urano, MD