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Dr. Urano’s January 2018 Update

Fumihiko “Fumi” Urano, MDHello Everyone,

As this is the first time to see you in 2018, I would like to begin by thanking all of you for your continued support and encouragement. I appreciate it immensely. I am so grateful to have such supportive friends. I would like to update you about our latest developments as usual.

Our drug-repurposing clinical trial of dantrolene sodium is ongoing. The trial began in January 2017. Twenty-two patients with Wolfram syndrome enrolled. Two patients decided to leave the study due to personal reasons and one patient could not start the study because of medical reasons. So nineteen patients started taking dantrolene sodium. As of today, fifteen of them have been taking dantrolene for more than 6 months. At this stage, my team has found few side effects and has identified safe dosage levels in adult and pediatric patients. I saw some beneficial effects on remaining beta cell functions, visual acuity, and neurological functions in some patients, but did not see any beneficial effects in other patients. Because all the participants are taking dantrolene, we cannot conclude that any effects are due to dantrolene. Nevertheless, I have sent the data of fifteen patients to statisticians who have not been involved in our Wolfram studies (myself and my colleagues are biased as you can imagine). We will find out more about the outcome of this study in the next several months.

I thought a lot about our therapeutic development for Wolfram syndrome during the holiday season. I feel that drug-repurposing may not be good enough. I firmly believe that we need a breakthrough therapy for Wolfram syndrome. This year, I would like to spend more time for developing regenerative gene therapy, especially for visual impairment. In parallel, I would like to develop a second-generation dantrolene which is more potent and safe. These are my two goals in 2018.

I feel that something new and wonderful will happen to us this year. I feel that we will go into a new stage. Thank you again for your continued support. I am hopeful and grateful.

Looking forward,